Nottingham Forest FC have announced the take-over of the club by a consortium headed by Evangelos M. Marinakis, a Greek shipowner, businessman and owner of Greek champions Olympiacos FC, and Sokratis Kominakis, a Greek businessman and investor, previously a senior executive with several multinational corporations. The completion of the purchase of 100% of the club’s shares follows the EFL’s review of the business plan submitted for the club. The EFL conducted an Owners’ and Directors’ test and concluded that none of the persons who would be Relevant Persons are liable to be disqualified under the test.
The owners formed an English company, NF Football Investments Ltd., in order to provide full transparency when they purchased the shares formerly owned by the Kuwaiti Al-Hasawi family. “Our intention is to keep Nottingham Forest thoroughly embedded in English football culture. We are therefore proud to announce the appointment of Nicholas Randall, QC, one of the leading sports lawyers in England, to the club’s board. Nicholas knows the football industry like few others and has accepted an offer to join the club as its Chairman”, Marinakis said.
The President of Olympiacos FC, and now the new majority owner of Nottingham Forest FC, has close ties to England. He attended high school and university in England and started his successful career in international shipping in London before he bought the Greek champions in 2010. Olympiacos, founded in 1925, is the biggest and most successful club in Greek football history, having won 44 League titles, 27 Greek Cups and 4 Greek Super Cups. They finished the current season as League Champions for the seventh time in a row under Marinakis’ leadership. Under Marinakis, Olympiacos have achieved the highest positions in Europe in its history: they are listed among the top 25 clubs in Europe today.
“What we have achieved in national and European football with Olympiacos FC, we want to duplicate with Nottingham Forest. Forest is one of England’s oldest clubs and one with a proud history of national and international excellence. Our objective is to bring back the glory days. We are football people to the core and we love and know the game. Our team has demonstrated that we know how to create success in football by having won title after title with Olympiacos in Greek football”, said Marinakis. “We want to rekindle Forest’s past success and we are committed to the club for the long-term. What the club needs is a solid and time-tested management, a professional board, and above all, the best possible football management and players. Our senior team will be Nicholas Randall QC as Chairman, Ioannis Vrentzos as CEO, Samantha Gordon as CFO, and David Cook as CCO, and they will deliver just that.
“Furthermore, we believe that in Mark Warburton and his team the right people were selected to take the club forward on the pitch by delivering the passing game that the club’s supporters love, and for which Nottingham Forest are known and remembered throughout the world. We will provide Mark and his team with the time and support necessary to rebuild the team and create the conditions for success. In this regard I am pleased to confirm that we have agreed a contract extension for Frank McParland as Sport Director. The players performed magnificently in the crucial match against Ipswich Town and the way they responded to and implemented Mark’s game plan is a credit to the environment he has created. But the fans are one of the club’s most important assets: in recognition of the exceptional role played by all fans who stood by the club through difficult times, we have decided to reduce the price for season tickets for the next season to make it more affordable to local fans. It is crucial for the club to give back to fans as this is a joint effort to bring back success.
"In a further step towards honouring Nottingham Forest’s past, we shall bring back as many people as possible, in particular of course former players, who played a decisive role in building Forest’s legacy. They deserve our respect and we want to make them part of our collective effort to rebuild this exceptional club”, Marinakis said.
A new approach
Nottingham Forest FC will seek to become the model club in England for fan and community participation. The club’s new board and management will launch two ambitious and inclusive initiatives this summer.
For one, and because Nottingham and the region are home to excellent universities, fan representatives and delegates of the tertiary institutions will be invited to form an Advisory Council. The chair of the Council will participate regularly in board meetings as an Observer and offer hands-on input and advice gathered through the Advisory Council meetings.
Going one step further, and recognising the crucial relevance of young fans and potential supporters for the club’s development, Nottingham Forest FC will launch the Nottingham Forest Youth Council, whose chair will be representing the views and aspirations of Nottingham’s youth to the Nottingham Forest board.
Club Chairman Nicholas Randall, QC will be in charge of both initiatives and will outline the details well before the beginning of the 2017-18 season.
Mr. Marinakis said “Nottingham Forest’s supporters have been magnificent in a difficult season and now my Management Team want their voices to be heard and include their input in our decision-making. These forums will make that possible for the first time and in a meaningful way.”
Mr Evangelos M Marinakis is the Founder and Chairman of Capital Maritime & Trading Corp. Marinakis is named in the Lloyd’s List “One Hundred Most Influential People in the Shipping Industry”. Since August 2010 he became the majority owner and President of Olympiacos FC. He is also experienced in the governance of football in his role as Vice President of the Hellenic Football Federation and President of Superleague Greece. A passionate football fan and a believer in how important a role the sport, and especially a cub, can have as a force for good in the community. Marinakis has also been active in local politics and was elected as Member of the Piraeus City Council.
Mr Sokratis Kominakis has been one of the most successful managers serving at top managerial positions in renowned multinational companies like Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Vodafone, and TIM. He became CEO of TIM Hellas in 2004 at the age of 36 (the youngest CEO in a major telecoms company at the time according to FT). After successfully leading the sale of TIM Hellas from Telecom Italia to a group of private equity investors and 2.5 years later to Weather Investments, he resigned from the CEO position at the end of 2008 and he set up an investment consulting firm, Milos Advisors S.A., which advised big international private equity funds on their investments in Greece and the Balkans region. He is an active investor himself in many sectors but primarily shipping and real estate. Please also note that he was vice president of Olympiacos between July 2010 and May 2011.
Mr Nicholas Randall QC was called to the bar in 1990 and was appointed as Queen’s Counsel in 2013. He is recognized as a leading sports lawyer in the independent legal directories. He is a member of the Premier League Disputes Panel and sits regularly as an Arbitrator. He is described as the “go to” Silk for football related cases. His past clients cover the full breadth of football related activity and have included Sir Bobby Robson, Kevin Keegan, Roy Keane, George Graham, David O’Leary, the LMA, the PFA as well as numerous clubs, players and agents.
Mr Ioannis Vrentzos has extensive senior level experience across the investment banking, finance and football sectors. He has been Managing Director of Olympiacos since 2010 and has overseen the restructuring of the club and implementation of a strategy that makes Olympiacos one of the most successful and financially secure clubs in Europe. As CEO of Nottingham Forest he will be moving to Nottingham to run the club. He will be required to lead the senior management team in the implementation of a sound organisational structure, embedding a culture of high performance and delivering NFFI’s key objectives.
Ms Samantha Gordon enjoys significant experience of managing the finances of a football club with similar ambitions to Nottingham Forest as she spent seven years with Norwich City, including managing their transition from the Championship to the Premier League. She has a proven track record of financial turnaround of a football club, having cleared £21m of external debt whilst simultaneously achieving promotion from League One to the Premier League. Her extensive board-level experience in the sports sector will ensure she will assist Nottingham Forest to achieve NFFI’s objectives whilst complying with financial fair play regulations.
Mr David Cook will join the club as Chief Commercial Officer. David is a sports marketing specialist with experience concluding some of the biggest commercial deals in the sports sector. Since September 2012, David has held the position of Senior Sponsorship Manager at Etihad Airways. In this role, David has responsibility for devising the company’s global sponsorship strategy and negotiating all commercial partnerships for the airline. He has concluded multi-million dollar sponsorship agreements around the world and in football, cricket, motorsport and fashion. Previous to his role with Etihad Airways, David was Head of Business Development at Celtic F.C. where he delivered substantial revenue growth for the club. Additionally David held the position of International Business Development Manager at Everton F.C. David’s experience makes him perfectly placed to help transform Nottingham Forest’s commercial offerings, introduce new revenue streams and internationalise the club’s brand, all in accordance with NFFI’s vision for the club.