London Scottish is delighted to announce Malcolm Offord is to rejoin the Board as Chairman and Carson Russell will take on the post of Chief Executive in a move that puts a new young team at the helm.
Offord (52) previously served on the Board from 2012 to 2015 and is himself a major investor. Russell (also 52) like Offord played for the club in the 1990s. “We have exciting plans to build on the great legacy we have inherited and will be sharing these with all the stakeholders in London Scottish,” said Offord. The pair will be introduced to shareholders at the company AGM next month and also to a members’ forum at the club.
Sir David Reid has decided to retire after eight years in the chair. He will remain the largest shareholder. Rod Lynch, club president since 2001, had been filling in as Chief Executive since the departure of Kenny Baillie in 2015, and likewise will step down.
After 26 years in the City, Offord established Badenoch & Co, a boutique family office providing advice to and private equity investment in Scottish SMEs. Russell has combined a business career running rugby-related companies with coaching several London clubs in the 20 years since retiring as a player and coach at London Scottish.
Offord said this week: “We are assembling a strong young entrepreneurial team to maintain a proud and competitive place in the Championship whilst building on our established “One Club” ethos. Sir David and Rod worked tirelessly over the years to rebuild London Scottish and their legacy is a solid commercial base and sound finances to support professional rugby, backed by a vibrant volunteer-led, proper rugby club.
“When they decided to step aside, I was delighted to be asked to put together a team to build on what they’ve achieved. We serve our local community in south west London and the wider Scottish community in the London area, so you could say our mantra will be Community, Championship, Continuity.”
Announcing his departure, Sir David said “now that we have achieved our aims of rising through the leagues and consolidating in the RFU Championship, Rod and I feel it’s the right time to pass the baton. I am proud of what's been achieved and would like to thank all our supporters, investors and sponsors for their support in helping us deliver our financial and cash flow targets for the season 16/17. We’ve established ourselves back at the top of the game, consolidated our finances and created a business model which Malcolm and his team will build on.”
“The proposed changes to the funding and structure of elite rugby will bring opportunities and challenges which the new team is ideally equipped to meet. And they bring with them pride in and passion for this great club!”
Sir David also paid tribute to Rod Lynch, “As president, he has been the beating heart of the club for so many years, and his work and commitment as CEO since 2015 has been vital to the club’s success. The club will for ever be in his debt.”
Lynch, who announced he will also retire as club president in the summer after 16 years in post, echoed Sir David’s words: “I became president when London Scottish had been dumped into the county leagues; since then it has been, as Sir David calls it, an incredible journey. London Scottish owes Sir David Reid an enormous debt of gratitude. When I look at the list of my illustrious predecessors as president, it has been an honour to serve the club for so long. Latterly, I was happy to step into the CEO’s hot seat in the club’s time of need. Now we can look forward to coming down to share a match day with friends, knowing there’s a great new team at the helm.”
Club Secretary Paul McFarland said: “in addition to his work as CEO, Rod’s retirement as President will leave an enormous gap in the amateur club as he put in so much time day to day across the club. That work will now be picked up by Carson and the full-time office team, as well as our many volunteers, but we have a unique group of highly-decorated former players and this is a great opportunity to invite one of our illustrious alumni to stand as president at the next club AGM and represent the club officially for the next few years.”
Offord added “we are excited about the future for London Scottish and we shall be meeting members, shareholders, sponsors and players to communicate our plans. We can’t wait to get started.”