Club statement: Announcement of new Chairman Steven Hollis
Owner Randy Lerner said: "That Aston Villa can and should operate in a far more stable and on a far more successful level, both in terms of football as well as commercially, is plainly clear. It is similarly clear that this great club has not been on stable footing for at least five years. In May of 2015 I again reiterated my intention to sell the Club or, in the alternative, to shift to a Board governance structure that begins with the appointment of a new Chairman; a Chairman with a proven track record for getting into the thick of troubled organisations, working with embattled executives and getting results. Steve has taken the last six weeks to become familiar with the deeply serious predicament in which the Club has found itself and has my total support to address the issues we face.
"We pursued Steve's candidacy in order to continue and strengthen the efforts that commenced in the summer of 2014 with the hiring of Tom Fox. Tom and Steve have spent time throughout December and early January and will therefore be in a position to work closely and immediately across all areas of the Club. We anticipate that Steve will give us additional reach within local business circles as well among government and quasi-government organisations. Steve has consistently demonstrated his commitment to Birmingham not only in his private commercial roles but also recently as deputy chair of the LEP and chair of the Birmingham Met.
"Regarding my future role with Villa, I expect to remain engaged with both Steve and Tom although at a somewhat further distance that I believe suits the reality that I live full time in the States, and that is appropriate given Steve's need to have the room to make decisions on behalf of the Board. I feel that as the business of football grows alongside the growth of the sport globally with the English League at the forefront, having a Chairman that has earned an established business presence in the region in which the club plays creates an important strategic advantage that we have to date lacked sorely. In short, Villa's success is dependent in aggregate on the skills, determination and commitment of the Manager, Chief Exec and Chairman. I believe that Steve can contribute meaningfully alongside Tom and Rémi and identify opportunities that can take the Club forward and are related to his professional background."
Chief Executive, Tom Fox, added: "I have now spent many hours with Steve both with Randy in the States, and at Villa Park and Bodymoor Heath. He's a very strong and yet modest person who will embrace the Chairman's role in the right way and for the right reasons. He cares deeply about Birmingham and the West Midlands and totally understands Aston Villa's place within this local fabric. He understands that significant progress has been made at the Club over the past year, both at Villa Park and Bodymoor Heath, but also recognises that there is still much to do to address the underlying issues across the Club and to build an organisation that can deliver consistent success. I believe Steve, based on his background and experience, will provide additional leadership to help us move quickly and decisively towards that objective. I am looking forward to working with him."
Mr Hollis said: "When Randy approached me last November, chairing one of the UK's best known football clubs was not, quite frankly, on my list of possible opportunities. As I have got to know Randy and spent more time with Tom Fox and Rémi Garde it has become increasingly clear that a strong Board that drives the necessary discipline and leadership will be at the core of the changes that are needed to overcome the under-performance Aston Villa has experienced over the last five years. As we have witnessed in the Premier League this year with other clubs - money no longer buys success. Randy has consistently provided financial backing no less so than last year. Our future success however lies in building a winning culture that is underpinned by a commitment to continuous improvement both on and off the pitch. The business of football is no different to any other business in this respect. We have the talent and great assets at Villa Park and Bodymoor Heath. The Club needs a shake up and with Randy's continued support the Board will look forward to working with Tom and Rémi to help drive the changes that our fans rightfully demand and that our city can be proud of."