in #KillieStories May 19, 2017
Former Chairman Michael Johnston has today resigned from his positions as a Director and the Company Secretary of Kilmarnock FC. He is also standing down from the Board of the Kilmarnock Community Sports Trust ("KCST") on which he represented the Club.
Michael became a Director and the Company Secretary in 2002 and served as Chairman for ten years between 2005 and 2015 during which time the Club won its first League Cup in 2012, having also reached the final in 2007.
When Michael took over as Chairman and majority shareholder the Club had around £13m of debt. Aided by a number of high value transfer fees which he personally negotiated, Michael gradually reduced this while maintaining the Club's competitive position in the top tier of Scottish league football. In March 2014 Michael completed a transformational restructuring of the Club's finances which delivered the arm’s length sale of The Park Hotel for full market value, with the proceeds going towards reducing the Club’s bank debt of £9m and Billy Bowie acquiring the balance of the bank debt and converting this into equity in the Club, combined with the permanent write-off by former Chairman Jamie Moffat of the balance of his loans to the Club, which originally totalled £1.8m. The outcome was the elimination of almost £11m of debt from the Club's balance sheet.
In the wake of that, Michael introduced a new Board of Directors and stood down as Chairman in 2015. He also formed KCST, a registered charity, to run the Club's community department in a more financially efficient manner.
Michael commented: "It has been an honour to serve Kilmarnock FC in various capacities over the last fifteen years. I have been fortunate to meet so many interesting people through football and greatly enjoyed serving on the Council of the Scottish FA for over ten years and the Board of the Scottish Premier League during the historic amalgamation with the Scottish Football League in 2013. There have been many challenges to confront along the way and these have taken their toll on not only me but also my family, to whom I extend my heartfelt thanks for their unqualified support. The recent loss of my wife Joanne, who was my greatest source of inspiration and encouragement at all times, has prompted my decision to retire from all active duties at the club and I look forward to attending Rugby Park as a committed supporter in future, unburdened of the worries of the past. I wish Billy Bowie and John Kiltie the very best of luck and good judgement in running the Club, ably supported by Club Secretary Kirsten Callaghan who was a key member of staff during my time as Chairman. I also wish to record my thanks to all the members of staff, past and present, the shareholders and the supporters who have supported me and the Club so enthusiastically over the years. The Club is now in a healthy position to advance in Scottish football and register even greater success."