Billionaire Hibs investor demonstrates commitment with major boardroom move

Thumbs up - American sports magnate Foley is on board and ready to work.Thumbs up - American sports magnate Foley is on board and ready to work.
Thumbs up - American sports magnate Foley is on board and ready to work.
Bournemouth owner Foley and leading deputy sign on at Easter Road

Billionaire Bournemouth owner Bill Foley has joined the Hibs board – signalling his intent to play an active role in the latest addition to his footballing network. And he’s been joined by another key player from the Black Knight ownership group, with Ryan Caswell taking up the second seat around the boardroom table guaranteed under the terms of the American’s buy-in.

Foley’s £6 million purchase of a 25 per cent stake in Hibs was approved at the club’s AGM last week, leaving the Gordon family in control – but with a diluted holding of just over 60 per cent, as a result of new shares being issued. The American, whose Black Knight Football Group includes not just ownership of Bournemouth but a 40 per cent holding in French club Lorient and the licence for a new A-League Franchise in Auckland, has spoken openly about his plans for Hibs.

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As first revealed here back in October, Foley has long believed that a relatively minor investment could establish the right club as the undisputed third force in Scottish football, guaranteeing European group stage football on an annual basis. And he’s publicly declared his intention to “help” Hibs in the transfer market.

Caswell, who helped Foley in the acquisition of Bournemouth, is considered the leading football adviser to the sports magnate, who also owns the Stanley Cup-winning Las Vegas ice hockey franchise. Caswell already holds a place on the FC Lorient board and oversaw the Auckland deal.

Hibs CEO Ben Kensell has reassured fans that Hibs will benefit from the investment, insisting that the Gordon family will have final say – and that the club’s current football department will remain in charge of all recruitment issues. In the statement confirming Foley’s appointment this evening, Hibs stressed that Foley would add “significant experience and success running best-in-class sports franchises, large enterprises, and publicly traded companies” to the existing board.

Hibs also announced yesterday that lifelong supporter Leslie Robb, an Edinburgh native with a background asset management, has been co-opted onto the board.

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