Ed Balls to step down as Norwich City chairman
PUBLISHED: 20:10 01 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:58 03 December 2018
Ed Balls is to stand down as Norwich City chairman.
The former Labour MP cited his upcoming television commitments behind the decision, which will also see him stand down as a director, but the lifelong City fan will become a club ambassador and vice-president.
Balls will officially leave his position as chairman on Boxing Day, the third anniversary of accepting the position from City’s majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones.
The club’s owners, along with the rest of the Canaries’ board, have no immediate plans to appoint a successor to Balls as chairman.
“I said to Delia and Michael in the autumn I felt it was the right time for me to step down,” said Balls, speaking prior to the Canaries’ 3-1 home win against Rotherham that kept them top of the Championship.
“When I first came in they asked me to be a non executive and then they asked me to be the chairman. I promised them I could do it for a year and it has been three years now, a very turbulent and tough period.
“I have got quite a lot of filming commitments in the first six months of the new year, in different parts of the world, and three years is quite a long time to do this type of job.
“It felt right for me but I am not leaving. I will continue to be a club ambassador and vice-president. Delia and Michael have asked me to do that. Now I can get back to cheering the team on a Saturday without all the stress.”
City’s majority shareholders, speaking to the club’s official site following the announcement, will now review the non-executive board make up following the recent roll out of a senior management structure, in the wake of Steve Stone’s departure as managing director.
They said: “We’d like to sincerely thank Ed for all his hard work on behalf of Norwich City since he agreed to join us in 2015. During a rollercoaster period for the club he has been a very important advisor and sounding board for both directors and senior executives, particularly on financial matters.
“He’s always been an enthusiastic and positive supporter of the club in his public life and through the media and we’re delighted he will join fellow Canary Stephen Fry in continuing to promote all things Norwich City in his new role as club ambassador and vice president - and he’s promised us he’s going to wear his Norwich scarf when he’s on television.
“We still have a robust and committed non-executive board with ourselves, deputy chairman Michael Fougler, Stephan Phillips and Tom Smith, all bringing extensive experience and differing expertise into the mix and working very closely with our new executive team.”
Balls was re-elected as a director at the recent annual shareholders’ meeting but insisted the timing of his departure from the board was unconnected.
“It was a really good AGM and it was about the new direction the club was taking,” he said. “I am proud that if you look at the changes we have made as a board in the last two years, the work with the academy bond, the recruitment policy and the fruits of that on the pitch.
“I talked to Michael and Delia back in September and we agreed I would stay until my third year anniversary on Boxing Day.
“We could have announced it at the AGM but we felt that was a bigger day for the club, it wasn’t about me.
“I chaired the meeting, answered the questions, but I have now made it clear I am making this decision.”