Ken Bates will officially step down as Leeds United chairman at the end of next month – and start a three-year term as club president.
United’s owner, GFH Capital, has confirmed to the Yorkshire Evening Post that Bates will resign from the board at Elland Road on June 30 and begin a fixed tenure in his honorary role.
The 81-year-old, whose last match as chairman after eight-and-a-half seasons takes place at Watford this weekend, negotiated a new position as part of the takeover of Leeds completed by GFH Capital on December 21.
Responding to questions submitted by the YEP, GFH Capital said Bates would “become president for a three-year term from July 1, 2013.” The Dubai-based firm also confirmed that he will have no executive power following his resignation as chairman.
Bates stepped down as a director of Leeds City Holdings Limited – United’s parent company – shortly after selling his majority stake to GFH Capital but he has remained on the board of the club itself.
In a statement, GFH Capital said: “He will officially stand down as chairman on June 30, 2013 and will no longer be a member of the board.
“He will become president for a three-year term from July 1, 2013.”
GFH Capital said that the choice of Bates’ replacement as chairman is still “in the process of discussion”, though it has long been suggested that the company’s deputy chief executive, David Haigh, could succeed the former Chelsea owner.
Haigh has been on United’s board since November and is presently one of six club directors following the resignations of Peter Lorimer and Yvonne Todd last week. Bates, Leeds chief executive Shaun Harvey, Hisham Alrayes, Salem Patel and the newly-appointed Salah Nooruddin make up the rest of the board.
The decision to install Bates as president – part of the protracted agreement which saw GFH Capital purchase United after six long months of negotiations – caused controversy amid questions about his continuing influence at Elland Road.
GFH Capital insisted last night that Bates would have no role in dictating club policy, saying: “It (the presidency) is an honorary role. As has always been the case, club policies will be decided by the club’s board and its directors.”