Lerner takeover complete as Ellis steps down

September 19, 2006

The Doug Ellis era at Aston Villa is finally over, with Randy Lerner taking over as chairman.

Doug Ellis, Randy Lerner
Empics / NealSimpsonDoug Ellis chats with new chairman Randy Lerner during the 2006 Villa takeover

American billionaire Lerner now has 89.69% of the shares and is entitled to compulsorily purchase the remaining 10% to take full control when he reaches 90%.

Ellis' departure as chairman has been confirmed on the Stock Exchange, with Stephen Kind, Anthony Hales, David Owen and Peter Ellis resigning from the board of directors with effect from today.

A statement to the Stock Exchange read: 'Aston Villa are pleased to announce the appointment of Randolph Lerner as chairman and General Charles C Krulak, Bob Kain and Michael Martin as new non-executive directors.'

It was also announced that Steve Stride will remain as an executive director on the board of Villa.

Lerner will press ahead with his plans to delist Villa from the Stock Exchange by mid-October and the midlands club will revert back to being a private company.

Ellis is relinquishing power after 35 years spanning two spells at Villa which was only broken between 1979 and 1982 when the club won the league title and European Cup in successive seasons.

He was chairman from 1968 to 1975 and then again from 1982 until the present day and will now be given a life presidency.

Lerner, the owner of NFL side Cleveland Browns, has already been active in his pursuit of making Villa a leading force after years in the doldrums.

He is hoping to line-up a £100million sponsorship deal by Christmas which will provide manager Martin O'Neill with further funds for players alongside Lerner's own capital.

Lerner will become chairman but is set to bring in a chief executive to handle the day-to-day running of Villa - a post which has been vacant since Bruce Langham resigned in May 2005.

O'Neill's appointment in early August meant he only had time to sign Stiliyan Petrov from Celtic for £8million before the transfer window closed.

But a major spending spree is anticipated, if not in January then next summer once O'Neill has had time to assess the quality of the current squad.