Randy Lerner has stepped down as chairman of Aston Villa. The 53-year-old has decided to relinquish the position and has been replaced by local businessman Steven Hollis. The American remains the owner of the Midlands club but it has been confirmed that Hollis has joined the board and is to help oversee a restructure. The new chairman has pledged to "shake up" Villa and restore the club to its former glory.
"That Aston Villa can and should operate in a far more stable and on a far more successful level, both in terms of football as well as commercially, is plainly clear," Lerner admitted to the club's official website.
"It is similarly clear that this great club has not been on stable footing for at least five years. In May of 2015, I again reiterated my intention to sell the club or, in the alternative, to shift to a board governance structure that begins with the appointment of a new chairman; a chairman with a proven track record for getting into the thick of troubled organisations, working with embattled executives and getting results.
"Steve has taken the last six weeks to become familiar with the deeply serious predicament in which the club has found itself and has my total support to address the issues we face."
Time to overcome 'under-performance'
Hollis, meanwhile, has vowed to restore a winning culture at Aston Villa, even though the club faces the threat of relegation this season. "When Randy approached me last November, chairing one of the UK's best known football clubs was not, quite frankly, on my list of possible opportunities," the new Aston Villa chairman said.
"As I have got to know Randy and spent more time with Tom Fox and Remi Garde, it has become increasingly clear that a strong board that drives the necessary discipline and leadership will be at the core of the changes that are needed to overcome the under-performance Aston Villa has experienced over the last five years."
Hollis said Lerner has continued to invest heavily in Aston Villa over the past few years. However, he thinks a lack of forward-thinking has undermined the American's efforts. "As we have witnessed in the Premier League this year with other clubs, money no longer buys success," he said. "Randy has consistently provided financial backing no less so than last year. Our future success however lies in building a winning culture that is underpinned by a commitment to continuous improvement both on and off the pitch.
"The business of football is no different to any other business in this respect. We have the talent and great assets at Villa Park and Bodymoor Heath. The club needs a shake up and with Randy's continued support, the board will look forward to working with Tom and Remi to help drive the changes that our fans rightfully demand and that our city can be proud of."