Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell will retire at the end of the season after 17 years in the role.
The club announced Mr Lawwell’s intentions this morning and it comes on the back of fan criticism regarding Celtic’s season so far and the recent controversy surrounding their Dubai trip. Supporters have left banners hanging demanding Lawwell leave the club in recent weeks.
Recent frustration does not diminish the good work done at Celtic since Lawwell took over the helm in 2003 and he has helped management bring huge success to Parkhead in the shape of 29 trophies including 13 league titles, four domestic Trebles and participation in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League on three occasions.
Mr Lawwell has described the role as a privilege and in a statement on the club website, said: “It has been an enormous privilege to have served the Club and our supporters for more than 17 years – a wonderful honour to have been part of an institution I have loved and supported all my life.
“I will always be very proud of what we have achieved together and it has been a particular privilege to be involved throughout a period in the Club’s history which has brought immense domestic success – as well as so many great European nights at Celtic Park.
“Everything we have aimed for and achieved has been for everyone associated with the Club. I have greatly valued my involvement with Celtic supporters in Scotland and around the world. In particular, I have appreciated the advice and support offered by all our main supporters groups across Scotland, Ireland and beyond. I would like to thank them all for the passion, support and commitment they continue to bring to Celtic.
“Celtic’s reputation is built on three pillars – success on the field of play, sound business management, and a real and sincere charitable ethos, building on the Club’s founding traditions. My objective has always been to maintain and strengthen all three in order to ensure that the Club is both successful in the short-term and in the long-term, and is handed down to future generations in the best possible condition. In every aspect of our affairs, we have strived to maintain the highest of standards.
“I first discussed the possibility of my retirement with the Chairman last year and we were keen to ensure an orderly handover to a new CEO once we had found the right candidate. Now that the process to select Dominic McKay as my successor is complete, I feel the time is now right to announce my retirement at the end of this season. I believe the Club have identified an excellent successor with the highest integrity who will bring substantial experience and enthusiasm to the role. I wish him every success in the future.
“Dominic will inherit a first-class executive team and a superb group of colleagues. I am grateful to them all for the backing I have received during the past 17 years. I have also owed a great deal to the unstinting guidance and support from Dermot Desmond, someone who has been so fundamental to our success on and off the field. In addition, I thank our present Chairman Ian Bankier, previous Chairmen and board members I have worked with, as well as Neil Lennon and the other five football managers and their backroom teams and, of course, so many great players at Celtic Park across the years who have given me and our supporters so much pleasure through a sustained period of success. I know that they will provide the same unwavering support and help to Dominic as they help to build on our past success.
“It was obvious that the Club would be facing a natural period of transition at the end of this season regardless of any outcomes. Like every Celtic supporter, I am disappointed that, so far, this season has not worked out in the way we all hoped for, despite our best efforts. My goal will be to work with Dominic in order to make changes as smoothly as possible and maintain a focus on continued success on the field of play. Together, our main priority will now be to ensure a seamless transition.
“It has been a difficult year for everyone in so many ways and I just wanted to take this opportunity once again to wish our supporters well. Even in a period of such adversity, upheaval and uncertainty, which our fans have faced in their own lives and communities, so many supporters have been with us again in such huge numbers. I sincerely thank all those supporters who have stayed with us.
“Celtic will always be the biggest and the best club in Scotland and our supporters will always be everything to our success. We need our fans with us to achieve that success.
“While retiring from Celtic in the summer, I will now look forward to other challenges. Inevitably, the role I have occupied also creates pressures and demands which are not always confined to me alone. So, above all, I thank my wife and family for their support and encouragement at all times. We will all continue to support the Club with the same love and passion we always have.”