New chief executive Leeann Dempster today called for togetherness as she kicked off her mission to breathe fresh life into beleaguered Hibs.
The much-vaunted former Motherwell CEO, who officially started work at Easter Road this morning, faces a baptism of fire as she bids to revive a club in a state of turmoil following its relegation from the Premiership eight days ago.
As well as leading from the front as Hibs rebuild for life in the Championship, she must also try to subdue mutinous supporters who are set on forcing Rod Petrie out of the club.
A fans’ protest is planned against the chairman at Easter Road this Saturday when Dempster is due to meet leading supporters’ groups, even though Petrie has vowed to step into the shadows, take a non-executive role and let the new chief executive have full control of the club.
Dempster today moved to reassure any sceptical fans that she has been given full autonomy as she called for unity ahead of what promises to be a summer of major transition at Hibs.
She said: “There is a lot to be done at Hibernian to return the club to its rightful position in Scottish football – both in terms of success on the pitch and in the way we engage with our supporters and our community.
“I am excited by the challenge and I will be relentless in pursuit of improvement and success. However, we need everyone to be together, to work together, and to ensure that we maintain the stable platform at the club which is vital to help propel us towards our common goal of promotion back to the Premiership next season.
“I understand people are upset and concerned about relegation, but they should understand that I am confident that I have the authority and freedom to make the decisions I want. I am also very confident that with everyone working together we can improve things quickly.”
Dempster will have responsibility for all activity at Hibs, including football, community and supporter engagement, marketing and communications, and finance.
She is expected to face the media in the coming days and is also likely to meet Terry Butcher towards the end of the week.