By Bill Heaney
BBC Scotland Sport is reporting that Dominic McKay has stepped down as Celtic’s chief executive after just two months for personal reasons.
The former Dumbarton-based PR chief, who worked in the Scotch whisky industry with Chivas, left his position as Scottish Rugby’s chief operating officer at Murrayfield, where he went post Chivas, to replace Peter Lawwell, below left, who retired after 17 years in the role, at the beginning of July.
The virtually unknown Celtic director of legal and football affairs Michael Nicholson will step in as interim CEO.
Celtic gave no further detail on the circumstances around McKay’s departure. However, the notoriously frosty reception for strangers in the Parkhead boardroom must have contributed to his decision.
“I’d like to thank the board and everyone at Celtic for their support and wish everyone at Celtic every success for the future,” McKay said.
McKay was announced as Lawwell’s replacement in January, before joining the club in April and eventually taking the reins full-time when his predecessor retired at the end of last season.
Celtic chairman Ian Bankier said: “We thank Dom for his efforts on behalf of the club and everyone wishes Dom and his family very well for the future”.
Gone after two months – Dominic McKay, formerly at the Scottish Rugby Union.
Bankier added interim chief Nicholson has a “solid grip on how to achieve our immediate and future objectives” having been with the club since 2013, first as company secretary and then head of legal.
This statement from Bankier is an early indication that Celtic will turn to Nicholson is their hour of need – and probably stick with him.
McKay took charge in a transitional period for Celtic after Lawwell, manager Neil Lennon, and captain Scott Brown all left the club following the failed attempt to win a record 10th consecutive Scottish Premiership title.
Manager Ange Postecoglou was appointed in June after primary target Eddie Howe opted not to join following a protracted period of negotiations.
Celtic have since made 12 signings this summer as part of a squad rebuild, with players such as Odsonne Edouard, Kristoffer Ajer and Ryan Christie, possibly their three best players, departing.
Although Postecoglou’s side were knocked out of the Champions League qualifiers, they secured a place in the Europa League group stage, and have won two of their four Premiership games so far this season.
‘Abrupt exit has blindsided everyone’ – analysis
BBC Scotland chief sports writer Tom English
This has come as a major surprise. I talked to somebody close to McKay who had spoken with him in the last three days and was given no indication this was in the pipeline. Everyone has been blindsided by it.
This was a dream job for McKay, a Celtic fan all his days. He was effusive when given the job and totally absorbed in it.
He had been at Scottish Rugby for 13 years but saw this as the big step up, the one he wanted. It’s now over in just 71 days.
Celtic will wait to get who they consider the right person to replace him.