Wednesday, December 13, 2006

THFC Appoint Sir Keith Mills

THFC have today announced the appointment of Sir Keith Mills as a non-executive director. Sir Keith was the CEO of the London 2012 Olympic Bid team, and is now the non-executive Deputy Chairman on the committee delivering the games. Sir Keith also runs his own company. Loyalty Management Group (LMG) operates the Nectar programme, the UK’s largest customer reward system, with 50 per cent of all households participating in the scheme. He was also the inventor of Air Miles. Sounds like an impressive man, so what does it mean to Spurs?

Firstly, what is a non-executive director? Well, he is a director who is not an employee of the company and who only dictates part of his available time to the company. It is usually a person with particular experience or skills who holds a seat on the board to exercise a steadying influence on board decisions. His legal obligations to the company and creditors of skill and honesty are the same as those of an executive director.

OK, so why have Spurs hired him? Based on his previous experiences with the 2012 Olympics it would almost certainly be for the re-development of White Hart Lane or its relocation. Having performed a miracle in winning the Olympics for London, clearly this man knows his stuff in terms of stadiums, locations etc but perhaps more importantly will hold great influence with the Mayor, the GLA and even the Government, and will be a powerful ally for THFC in terms of lobbying. Spurs have made a great deal about the local infrastructure in Tottenham not being suitable for an increased capacity stadium, and have requested with no avail for tube line extensions amongst other things, only for them to fall on deaf ears. Presumably, the thoughts are that Sir Keith’s influence may swing things in Spurs’ favour, and we may see a softening of the authorities’ stance.

Another interesting aspect to the appointment has been clarification on Spurs and the future Olympic Stadium, with Daniel Levy stating: “In light of the requirement for the Olympic stadium to retain a permanent athletics track, we are no longer considering this as an option.” Previously this hasn’t been mentioned in an official sense, with only some quotes from Damien Comolli appearing in the press along the same lines.

Another interesting line from the Official Statement is the line about “his breadth and depth of knowledge of international marketing and branding” and the quote from the man himself stating “I look forward to bringing my knowledge of sport and business to help the Club grow both domestically and internationally”. So it seems that another aspect to his role will be to increase the Tottenham Hotspur brand overseas. This is something than Man Utd in particular have looked to do in recent years, with their tours to the US and Far East, as well as tie ups with foreign clubs and companies. It will be interesting to see if Spurs follow a similar path.

The Waddler.