2020-2021 Richard Pym

Exeter City Football Club made a strategic new appointment, in June 2020, to its board of directors – and it was a person with a significant historical connection to the club.

Richard Pym, who has been a key figure in British retail and banking, was  appointed as Club Board Chairman.

"A retailer by background – he was an Executive Director of the Burton Group in the 1980s and early 1990s and was also a Director of Selfridges and Chairman of Halfords. He was subsequently Chief Executive of Alliance & Leicester and has chaired bank boards in the UK, Ireland and Sweden. Additionally, Richard worked with the UK Government when he was Chairman of UK Asset Resolution until 2016. He was awarded a CBE in 2015 and is still active in banking in London.

But it’s his surname which will be of interest to Exeter City fans – for Richard is the grandson of former Exeter City goalkeeper Dick Pym, who signed to Exeter City from Topsham and went on to play a remarkable 186 consecutive games for the club. He was sold to Bolton Wanderers in 1921 for £5,000 - at the time a world record sum for a goalkeeper. The proceeds of the sale enabled Exeter City to buy St James Park.

Richard, who is a graduate physicist and chartered accountant, will take over the role of Club Board Chairman on July 1, from David Lee who oversaw the redevelopment of the Stagecoach Adam Stansfield stand and Away End at St James Park and is retiring from the board after seven years. Richard’s role will be to chair the club’s board meetings and advise and support the board of directors.

Julian Tagg has been appointed Club President and Director of External Affairs, his new positions will incorporate his existing responsibilities as Club Chairman and Executive Director of Football. Both Julian and Richard will be non-voting directors.

Richard, who divides his time between London and Exeter, first attended a city match as a teenager with his father, another Richard, who played for the British Army football team in the 1940s. He said ‘I am delighted to join the board of Exeter City FC where I hope my business experience and love of both Exeter and football will be of assistance. I have a season ticket in the Stagecoach stand and I am looking forward to getting back to watching football when circumstances permit.’

Richard also loves watching his eldest American granddaughter playing football with her local team in Boston and is supportive of the development of women’s football in Exeter.

Nick Hawker, Chair of the Supporters’ Trust welcomed the appointments. He said: "We are delighted to welcome Richard to the board of directors, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience which will be hugely appreciated as we enter what could be a very challenging time as we look to navigate our way through a changing football landscape. I would also like to thank David Lee for his commitment to the club over the last seven years, we owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his level-headed and wise contribution to the running of the club and for leading the redevelopment of St James Park – it really is a legacy of which he should be very proud.

"It is also important to acknowledge the work and unrelenting determination of Julian Tagg to see this club be a success. His association with the club dates back to his first match as a nine-year-old and a ball boy at 11, to playing at St James Park as a 15-year-old and his role as Academy Director from 1994. He is a true ambassador for Exeter City. The appointment as Club President and Director of External Affairs recognises both his commitment to the club and the importance of his role when working with external partners, whether that is in the world of football or in our city."

Richard had retired as Chair of Allied Irish Bank in October 2019 as reported in the Irish Times.

"AIB chairman Richard Pym has signalled his intention to step down in March of next year. Mr Pym has been chairman of the bank since December 2014.

During his tenure, AIB returned to paying dividends to shareholders while undergoing an initial public offering, significant milestones in its recovery from the crash. It was also, however, embroiled in the ongoing tracker mortgage scandal.

As chairman of the bank, Mr Pym repeatedly clashed with Government over the pay restrictions for bailed-out banks, which saw his former chief executive Bernard Byrne exit last year.

Days before Mr Byrne quit, Mr Pym controversially claimed the pay caps had turned the bailed-out banks here into a “training ground” for bankers who then move to higher-paid roles with competitors.

An outspoken critic of Brexit, he has labelled Brexiteers as “headbangers” while saying said he would not hire a candidate with the “uncombed hair” and “racist language” of UK prime minister Boris Johnson.

Mr Pym said he intended to retire in March 2020 and “start a new phase” of his own activities.

“It has been an honour to serve as chairman over the last five years and to work in Ireland with some amazingly talented colleagues,” he said.

Next March

Mr Pym will step down following the approval of the bank’s annual report in March next year.

“As the strength of the board is assured through the addition of a number of recently announced non-executive directors and a robust succession plan for the years ahead, Richard has reviewed his commitments and concluded that it is the appropriate time to step down,” AIB said in a statement.

“He has led the AIB board and the group through a substantial period of change and was steadfast in striving toward rebuilding the public’s confidence and trust in AIB, maintaining a focus on our customers at all times in a simple and efficient way,” the bank said."

AIB chief executive said Mr Pym had served AIB Group “with great distinction over the course of the past five years”.

“Under his chairmanship, the bank has gained in strength and stability and is well positioned for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead,” Mr Hunt said. “At a personal level, Richard has been a vitally important guide since I rejoined AIB in 2016 and in particular since my appointment as CEO in March,” he added.

The bank said an announcement on Mr Pym’s successor would be made in due course. It has, meanwhile, appointed Brendan McDonagh to the role of deputy chair with immediate effect"

Exeter City Football Club has appointed Nick Hawker as chair of the club board, following the resignation of Richard Pym.

Richard, who is the grandson of Exeter City’s legendary goalkeeper Dick Pym, was appointed as chair in summer 2020 and had hoped to serve a maximum of two years, but stepped down from the position this month. Following Richard’s departure, Nick, who is also chair of the Supporter’s Trust, took over as chair of the Club Board. The appointment was made by the Supporter’s Trust.

Richard said: “When I joined the board as chairman, I had hoped to serve for a maximum of two years but when I looked at the requirements of the club over the next six months and compared it to my own time availability then I knew it was time to hand over.

“I joined the board because the club was supporter owned and it has been a privilege to serve a club my grandfather played for a century ago. I will offer my services in the future for volunteer help on projects and will continue my sponsorship of Exeter City Women; it has been fantastic to see them doing so well this season.”

Richard was presented with a signed shirt to thank him for his contribution to the club.

Nick said: “The Club Board would like to thank Richard for his hard work over the last 18 months, a period which, due to the impact of the pandemic, has been particularly challenging. He stepped in and steadied the ship and led the board with purpose and fortitude as we navigated the uncertain landscape.”

Nick, who was appointed as Trust secretary in 2012, was co-opted as a trustee in 2017 and elected as chair of the Supporters’ Trust in November 2017.

He added: “I'm delighted to have been appointed as chair of the club board. I'm also really pleased that Richard has agreed to 'stay in touch' and help the Trust. In January we will start reviewing how to increase our shareholding in the club. Since the share register was tidied earlier in the year our holding has increased to 57.25%, so we will now look to see how we can increase it still further. Something that Richard will be involved in.”



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