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Hibs taken over by US businessman as Rod Petrie leaves

Easter Road club now debt free as broadcasting tycoon Ronald Gordon becomes majority shareholder.

Hibs have been taken over by an American broadcasting tycoon who has bought out Sir Tom Farmer and Rod Petrie.

Ronald Gordon is now the club's majority shareholder, with Mr Petrie standing down from the board after 22 years, including 15 as chairman.

Mr Gordon's new company Bydand Sports LLC has pumped millions of pounds into the club, which is now debt free.

The "lifelong football fan", who was born in Peru after his grandfather emigrated from Scotland in 1908, made his money building-up and selling a network of Spanish-speaking broadcasters in the US and has become executive chairman.

The outgoing Sir Tom Farmer and Rod Petrie, new owner Ronald Gordon and chief executive Leeann Dempster.
The outgoing Sir Tom Farmer and Rod Petrie, new owner Ronald Gordon and chief executive Leeann Dempster. STV

Mr Gordon, who has five Emmy Awards to his name, paid tribute to Kwik Fit founder Sir Tom, who saved the club in 1991.

He said: "I know that Hibernian is the right club for me, and I am committed to working with supporters, other shareholders and everyone connected with Hibernian to build on Sir Tom's legacy and take the club forward.

"I had a great first conversation with Sir Tom. We swapped stories from our childhood and compared our approach to business.

"There are many similarities and those values are evident in Hibernian not only as an outstanding football club but also its engagement with young people and through the Hibernian Community Foundation. That it is such a well-run club was one of the major attractions for me.

Rod Petrie: Leaving Hibs after 22 years on the board.
Rod Petrie: Leaving Hibs after 22 years on the board. SNS Group

"Hibernian will always be Sir Tom's club and Easter Road will always be his home.

"I am looking forward to getting to know the supporters and shareholders as quickly as possible, hearing what they have to say and then working with them to help the club build a successful future. And I will be there as often as I can to support the team."

Sir Tom said it was the right time to pass Hibs onto new owners.

He said: "From the day supporters asked me to get involved to help save the club back in 1991 this day was always going to come.

Sir Tom Farmer rescued Hibs in 1991.
Sir Tom Farmer rescued Hibs in 1991. © SNS Group

"After almost 30 years the approach from Ron has struck a chord and the time is right to transfer the stewardship of our great club."

Mr Petrie, recently appointed SFA president, has been chairman for the past 15 years and said the new owner had put the club first.

He said: "In agreeing this transition, Sir Tom and Ron have put the football club first and everyone should recognise and applaud that.

"The legacy of Sir Tom's tenure is not just the club's infrastructure - our magnificent stadium and training centre - but also the imperative that the club should live within its means to ensure its stability and well-being.

"During that time, the club reached nine cup finals, won the League Cup twice and the long-awaited Scottish Cup in 2016. There were also ten campaigns in Europe."

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