BCFC: The New Board
Following Shelby Companies Limited investment in Blues last week, the club moved quickly to appoint new directors.
The Board of Birmingham City Limited (the UK holding company) now consists of the following individuals:
The same set of individuals are also directors of Birmingham City Football Club Limited and Birmingham City Women’s Football Club Limited.
It is interesting that the documents published by BSHL to the HKSE indicated that the 7 person Board would be made up of 3 nominees by Shelby Company Limited and 4 nominees by BSHL, reflecting the wider balance of shares in the club. Clearly the balance now favours Shelby and perhaps reflects a wider understanding between the two parties.
A few more details on each of the Board members:
Tom Wagner (Chair)
Tom Wagner is the co-founder of Knighthead Capital Management, a New York based business that manages about $9 billion of assets. The business specialises in investing in companies that need financial and operational restructuring. Prior to Knighthead Capital’s founding, Tom was employed by Goldman, Sachs & Co. where he was responsible for running distressed credit and prior to that was employed by Credit Suisse First Boston. He has extensive experience of turning businesses around by investing in them rather than breaking them up. He was born in July 1969.
Kyle Kneisly was born in July 1988 and is a senior analyst at Knighthead Capital Management, joining them in 2020.
Andrew Shannahan is Head of Research and Partner at Knighthead Capital Management. Andrew has been at Knighthead for thirteen years, leading complex investment situations. Prior to joining Knighthead, he spent six years as a senior research analyst for Litespeed Partners, an event-driven hedge fund. Andrew serves on the Board of both Hertz and ATI Physical Therapy, Inc., and is a member of the Investment Committee of certain funds managed by Knighthead Capital Management. He is currently aged 42.
Matt Alvarez is a film producer and investor. His movies include Straight Outta Compton, Are We There Yet?, Ride Along and Ride Along 2. He also has experience as an investor in sports, being an investor in Sacramento Republic who play in the USL, the second tier of US Soccer (at the same level as our namesakes Birmingham Legion), and also an investor in a US pickleball team alongside NFL star Tom Brady, tennis player Kim Clijsters and Tom Wagner. Pickleball is a racquet based sport and one of the US’s fastest growing sports. He is 52.
Zhao Wenqing is the current chair and CEO of BSHL, a position he has held since October 2016, and of course used to chair BCFC PLC prior to Shelby’s takeover. Prior to this he had worked as the head of the risk management department and the chief accountant in Beijing Centergate Technologies (Holding) Co.Ltd. He is 57.
Gannan Zheng, known as Edward, has been a director of both Birmingham City Football Club (since 2016) and Birmingham City Women Football Club (since 2018). This is the first time he has been on the Board of the UK parent company (Birmingham City Limited). Prior to joining Blues he was marketing manager for Rolls Royce in Beijing. He is 38.
Garry Cook is a native of Birmingham and fellow Blues fan who has been appointed CEO of the club and a Board member. He worked for Nike in the US before taking the role of CEO at Manchester City in 2008 and starting their transformation to the club we see today. After leaving Manchester City in 2011 he joined UFC, a US based Mixed Martial Arts promotion company, before becoming executive president and CEO of the Saudi Professional (Football) League.
Birmingham City Stadium Limited continues to own St. Andrew’s and its directors are Tom Wagner and Laura Torrado-Malley. Laura is General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Director of Human Resources/Partner at Knighthead Capital Management. She previously worked for Bear Stearns, an investment bank, and before that a law practice. The same two individuals are also directors of Shelby Companies Limited.
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