Archie Paton - who is new Hibs director who advised Ronald Gordon on takeover?

Amidst the hubbub of yesterday's seismic change at Hibs, one piece of the Ronald Gordon jigsaw nearly went by unnoticed.

Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 10:04 am
Ronald Gordon, new Hibs owner and Archie Paton (inset) who has joined the board as a non-executive director
Ronald Gordon, new Hibs owner and Archie Paton (inset) who has joined the board as a non-executive director

As part of the Peru-born, US-based media supremo's takeover of the Capital club, an individual named Archie Paton was appointed to the Hibs board as a non-executive director.

Paton, a senior executive in the sports industry, advised Gordon throughout the deal. But who is the Chief Executive Officer of Openside Sports, and what could he bring to the club?

Early career

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In the early years of his career, after graduating from the University of Stirling where he studied marketing and economics, Paton focused on designing sports software and business systems.

Since then, he has accrued more than two decades of experience in global sports marketing and management, and has been involved in key projects and programmes for some of the world's foremost sporting brands and events.

What firms has he worked with?

Paton has served as Chief Executive Officer of Openside Sports Ltd. since 2005, and in that time has worked with prominent clients including Manchester City, the tennis ATP World Tour, Munster Rugby and the West Indies cricket team.

Since 2011, he has served as a consultant with London brand firm Teamup, and in 2014 was part of a four-man team who worked on the rebrand of golf's oldest major tournament, the Open Championship.

He spent three years as a director with Openside Digital, an award-winning firm that works on software development, digital design, e-commerce and marketing services for a host of clients across the globe.

What can he bring to Hibs?

Openside Sports has a track record of working with national and international sports organisations on brand strategy, sponsorship, academies and high performance, marketing and communications and merchandising.

Gordon told the Evening News yesterday that while Hibs was a "phenomenal brand on a business level", the club needed to "be in partnerships with other great Scottish brands".

Putting two and two together, Paton would appear well-placed and well-connected to take a lead on sewing up those partnerships. It's possible, too, that Gordon and Paton will look to expand the club's global fanbase. There are already prominent Hibs supporters' groups in countries outwith Scotland, but the regime change at Easter Road could open up opportunities to increase numbers.

Gordon also highlighted the importance of the Hibs Academy, adding: "We would want the academy to be the best in Scotland. I don’t know what that would take, but those are the two pillars that have long term repercussions and impact for the club.”

As mentioned, Openside Sports has experience of working on academies and high performance, with Paton again appearing to be a key figure in progressing the academy.

His experience in sponsorship and marketing could also bear fruit going forward if Hibs choose to go down the route of acquiring a title sponsor for the training centre at East Mains and, in the longer term, shirt and club sponsorship deals.

It's early days yet, but Paton's appointment to the board could turn out to be just as crucial as Gordon's arrival.