Dave Cormack is to become the new Aberdeen FC chairman after Stewart Milne stepped down from the role, it was confirmed tonight.
Milne has been at the helm at Pittodrie for 22 years and will make way for Mr Cormack after the club’s annual general meeting next month.
The move has been four years in the planning and the outgoing chairman said Mr Cormack is his “natural successor” as he prepares to depart.
The change comes as part of a restructuring at Aberdeen FC which also includes new investment and a new partnership with Atlanta United, the US Major League Soccer club.
Mr Milne has helped keep the Dons on a firm financial footing and also helped pave the way for the club to move to move to a new £50 million stadium.
He said his time at the top with Aberdeen FC has been a “rollercoaster of emotions” and he has experienced both joy and despair.
Mr Milne said: “For four years, we’ve been working on a succession plan. It’s been no easy task to find the right person who is willing to take on the onerous role of chairman, with responsibility for both the financial health and growth of the club.
“In bringing Dave onto the board and then appointing him vice-chairman, we viewed him as the natural successor. He qualifies on both counts. He is prepared to take on the commitment and has already proved his ability to secure significant new investment. Importantly, he is passionate about Aberdeen and the club.”
“I have always said I would relinquish the reins when the right opportunity arose and I believe that time has now come. I’m proud to have had the opportunity to lead the club I love for over two decades. It’s been a real privilege but not without its challenges. Like the fans, I’ve shared in a rollercoaster of emotions from pure joy and exhilaration through to frustration and despair.”
Mr Milne said he is handing over the reins with the club in a secure financial position with revenues doubled from £7.8 million to £ 16 million.
His decision to step aside also follows the recent opening of the multi-million-pound training centre which has been named after Dave Cormack.
Mr Milne said: “We have been in a consistently healthier position for several years now and I’m pleased to be able to hand the club over to safe hands in the knowledge that we are debt-free and have more than doubled revenues from around £7.8 million in 2013 to almost £16 million today.
“The opening of the £12 million Cormack Park represents the completion of phase one of our vision for a new home. We’ve achieved this while still increasing the first team budget to its highest level yet and continuing to invest in our youth programme. Our annual spend on the overall football operation now amounts to £9 million.”
Milne has agreed to stay on the board in a non-executive capacity to ensure a smooth transition.
Mr Cormack said he is “honoured and privileged” to be named chairman at Aberdeen FC and said further details of the partnership with Atlanta United plus more investment will be announced tomorrow.
He said he wants to thank Mr Milne for his service to Aberdeen and paid tribute to the businessman’s “commercial acumen” and “unwavering loyalty” to The Dons.
Mr Cormack said: “During more than 20 years in the driving seat, he has had to deal with some turbulent times, both at the club and within Scottish football.
“Thanks to his astute commercial acumen, his financial contributions and an unwavering loyalty, both as a chairman and a fan, he has successfully led the club through those times, having to make difficult decisions along the way.
“Not all of these have been popular among fans, but they have helped to get the club into a good position on and off the pitch.”
Cormack said the new investment and partnership with Atlanta United will help Aberdeen compete with the Old Firm.
He said: “There are some real challenges ahead but, with the support of my fellow directors and new investors, along with our fans, we will do our utmost to deliver success which, at the end of the day, is measured by the team’s performance.
“The new investment and this partnership with Atlanta will allow us to punch above our weight, aspiring to attain UEFA’s top 100 status, and trying to level the playing field against significantly higher income generated by Celtic and Rangers.”
The changes are in the annual general meeting notice which was issued to shareholders this weekend with the gathering taking place on December 16
Aberdeen’s accounts for the financial year ended 30 June 2019 reveal an increase in turnover of half a million from £15.4 million to £15.9 million.
The turnover is a new record for the club with a substantial increase in commercial income together with gate income, from cup competitions, was offset by a reduction in UEFA prize monies and a drop in broadcasting income as a result of finishing fourth in the Ladbrokes SPFL Premiership.
Milne’s departure as chairman is not the only boardroom change for the Dons.
Duncan Fraser will leave his position of chief executive with immediate effect, but will remain as a non-executive board director.
Board directors Ian Jack, Duncan Skinner and Craig Brown will also be stepping down to make way for the new investors to shape the board and the executive team for the future.
Mr Brown will remain at the Club in an ambassadorial role and Mr Skinner will continue as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Aberdeen FC Community Trust.