Peter Lawwell, succession, the cost, the comeback


The worst kept secret in Scottish football was confirmed yesterday with a Stock Market announcement that Peter Lawwell would take over from Ian Bankier as chairman of Celtic on 1 January.

There are libraries of academic literature written on corporate succession.  Bob Iger was president of Disney from 1999, a post he held until 31 December 2021.  His replacement Bob Chapek was confirmed almost two years earlier, but Chapek didn’t cut it and was sacked last month.  71-year-old Iger has his hand back on the tiller.

It is famously difficult to ‘follow Sinatra’.  When decades of unique experience, influence and learning leaves a corporation, the new guy and management in the tiers below are fighting the same battles with one less significant resource.

Peter Lawwell had done his time and more as chief exec.  It was right for him and right for Celtic that he stepped down last year.  Whatever went wrong with Dominic McKay, brought in to replace him on 1 July and released three months later, the club and Dom have kept their counsel.  A tumultuous few months saw two CEOs and over a dozen players leave,  more still arrive, a managerial recruitment saga that was outrageously successful despite being far from smooth, ended with inhouse candidate, Michael Nicholson, taking over as chief exec.

Still, there were enormous gaps, not least of all in utilising the influence Peter has in the wider European game.  It is unlikely that we will ever again have an executive with as much influence  as him.  For this role, he was asked to stay on as director of the Football Club subsidiary.  Without being retained in this role, European football would be a small bit different today.

He went straight to work on one of his pet subjects, Uefa Financial Fair Play regulations, and played a pivotal role in ensuring the lessons we learned in previous years were addressed in the new code – a code which inhibited Newco from spending after their Champions League group stage qualification.

Celtic took the recommendation of Peter’s son, Mark, and appointed Ange Postecoglou manager 18 months ago.  This was the pivot point for the Lawwell legacy.  He did not get the CEO successor right, but his last act in finding a permanent replacement for Neil Lennon led to the league title last season.  If that appointment failed, he would not be back as chair.  Looking in from the outside, although you can see the imprint of Peter Lawwell in our current football operation; Michael Nicholson, Mark Lawwell and Ange Postecoglou are fundamentally different than any CEO, recruitment head and manager combination we have ever had.  They are technical first, asset management to their core and unhindered by legacy battles.

I know the cost the job had on Peter on a personal level.  The disruption to normal life, not to mention the very serious incident he and his family recently had to contend with.  He carried ‘a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom’.  I doubt he shared the whole picture with anyone, not even those closest.

A friend cautioned him on becoming chairman with, “Why should you get to enjoy your retirement?”  He doesn’t need the money, the hassle, or life under the spotlight.  It’s Celtic, though, and there is always another challenge.  For many of us, that’s enough of a reason.

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  1. Dearie me…he’s now an expert in Financial Fair Play? And what exactly did he do,when the cheating huns died? Rehabilitate them………

  2. prestonpans bhoys on 3rd December 2022 8:52 am









    Does anyone know the reason why this appointment was not announced at the AGM?



























    Surly they knew who was the new chairman by that time









    Because we have a Board of cowards,they know exactly how the majority of supporters feel about Lawwell, and would have taken heat at the AGM, so pick the middle of a World Cup ,to bury bad news.

  3. prestonpans bhoys on







    Now perhaps P67 will enlighten us with what PL actually contributed to the Uefa Financial Fair Play regulations

  4. thebhoywithmcgraininhisside on

    CHAIRBHOY on 3RD DECEMBER 2022 11:42 AM



    “I will be offering my support and guidance to the Board and executive management team to ensure that we continue to drive the Club forward and protect and promote the interests of our supporters.”



    All PL can do is offer the executive team guidance & support. The question should be in what specific areas will he be offering that guidance & support? The UEFA area?



    @Big J..Correct scores take some doing gettin it right…Superb big chap





    This World Cup been good for you ….Keep hammerin the Bad





    All good this end mate.. Nae weans so the Vinyls are on…..Had Piledriver on





    Them Quo boys can rock..





    Yes, the World Cup Correct Score/results have been quite good to me ” Betting wise”, however there is a LOT of LUCK involved obviously. it not everyday I will have a 33/1 winner, AND a 20/1 winner.



    Ah, Status Quo….I saw them Twice back in the 1970’s in the Greens Playhouse and the Apollo.



    A GREAT Band LIVE.


    HH Mate.

  6. paulsthroughball88 on

    How about some financial fair play for the Celtic supporters who paid thousands for over a decade to watch a rigged game?



    And those rigging it got to keep their cheated titles and cups, although they had to suffer seeing our club “disappointed” about that.



    Bet that keeps them awake at night.

  7. Liewell back , Sevco must be in trouble again and Liewell back to give them a helping hand, Gutted that man is back at the club Gutted !!!!!

  8. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    So the modernisation of the club pushes on a further level. Hard to keep up at times.


    The moderniser gone after a few weeks (replaced by a guy who had been here seven years), an old firm game arranged in Sydney and now an eighteen year veteran of peak old firmery back to help push things on!

  9. As usual Desmond calls the shots. Different job but basically doing what Desmond wants. At least Peter knows what has been going on. Dont expect any new ideas. Hopefully better as Chair than Bankier.



    I hope he brings in some new faces as the current board is quite elderly now

  10. As the late, great, Brian Clough might have said, I wouldn’t say that P67 is the best sycophant in the business, but he is certainly in the top one.




    All he can do is offer guidance & support. The question is in what specific areas will he be offering that guidance & support. The UEFA area?



    Well, we really have to go on what we know.



    When Peter Lawwell was CEO he had a particular role on the Board and he was an executive, however DD and PL did as they liked.



    DD is not an owner of Celtic, in fact he is not even a majority shareholder, yet he is the defacto controller – despite assurances he wouldn’t, DD used share issues to sieze effect control of the Club.



    Martin O’Neil was given assurances that Peter Lawwell wouldn’t interfere with the football side and to placate Martin he was given the title Head of Operations.



    Within a year he had become CEO and stopped MO’N buying any more players for Celtic



    There are dozens of examples where the two may not have done things unlawfully but they rode roughshod over codes of conduct and best practice and have down right refused to be transparent.



    If all was above board, Celtic PLC would have announced Peter Lawwell as the successor to Ian Bankier at the AGM and made his roles and responsibilities clear.



    As a wiser man than I said, why didn’t they do that?



    Nothing has been above board or as it seems or as it was spun for twenty years.



    You don’t take what these guys say with a pinch of salt – you take it with large doses of deludamol.



    Hail Hail




    Exactly, Peter Lawwell was on a seven figure salary, bonuses and expenses.



    He leaves the Club, now let’s put aside the Dominic McKay thing for the moment and look on Michael Nicholson as Big Pedro’s successor.



    That means we lost a guy on a seven figure salary, had a reshuffle without new blood and things instantly improved and continue to improve.



    We were ineffect grossly over paying someone who wasn’t just getting in the way but actually holding us back.



    Things are running along nicely so they bring him “back”.



    Go figure.



    If I was Ange Postecoglou I’d be on the phone to the highly talented Frank Trimboli to get the feelers out.



    If he doesn’t believe me he can call MO’N or BR or….



    Hail Hail

  13. CHAIRBHOY on 3RD DECEMBER 2022 1:47 PM


    If all was above board, Celtic PLC would have announced Peter Lawwell as the successor to Ian Bankier at the AGM and made his roles and responsibilities clear.


    As a wiser man than I said, why didn’t they do that?




    Simple answer..feart

  14. hurrah Peter makes his first signing.



    John Paul Dykes on Shortie now,



    Peters dominance and power in scottish football.



    if in doubt make it up.

  15. stpatricksbhoy on

    “Celtic are delighted to announce the signing of Alistair Johnston, who has joined the club on a five-year deal from MLS side, CF Montreal.” Well done Big Peter.


    Hail Hail

  16. JIMDOM on 3RD DECEMBER 2022 1:37 PM


    As the late, great, Brian Clough might have said, I wouldn’t say that P67 is the best sycophant in the business, but he is certainly in the top one.




    True, I often wonder why P67 does these type of blogs on Lawwell.


    Its his version of succulent lamb journalism.


    Or when P67 went into full reverse mode on res 12, almost certainly at the behest of his mate.


    I think P67 knows that only a few hardcore Lawwellites will believe all the nonsense he writes on Lawwell but maybe he doesnt care as this blog is probably intended for the hardcore Lawellites anyway.


    Whereas Sentinel Celts, Kerrydale St and the Huddleboard cater to a different audience.

  17. Welcome to the club for our fifth Canadian (ref Celtic Wiki) AJ….



    I guess only a matter of time before JJ leaves the other way as I don’t see 3 international RBs post January.



    On that other note, what has our great controller Lawell done for us in terms of his European contacts ? We know he did eff all scrutinising the 5 way agreement for the sake of his OF business partners.



    As long as he stays out of the way of Ange and Nicholson but given his previous, I doubt it very much. Yesterday’s man with an enormous ego. What could go wrong.




  18. thebhoywithmcgraininhisside on

    CHAIRBHOY on 3RD DECEMBER 2022 1:47 PM



    “Well, we really have to go on what we know.”



    Yeah. & we know the executive sway that all previous non-executive chairmen of Celtic have managed to yield. Slim to none. But you keep taking the pills.



    The CEO has responsibilities re the company, the shareholders in general & the share price, but those duties withstanding, he calls the shots. A non-executive chairman has none of that power.



    I agree that DD in some respects picks the tune everyone dances to. I’d wager both that our previous CEO’s departure was precipitated by major shareholders losing confidence and that our current CEO is very well aware of that fact. But DD’s inflated influence is one of the reasons why a PLC structure would not have been my 1st choice for Celtic, but that was what Fergus knew and I thank him for it.



    In short Nicholson is smart enough to know his responsibilities & recognise the lay of the land. He doesn’t need nursemaided or bullied by PL. Which begs the question why chairman now? I suppose it could be a retirement gift en lieu of a carriage clock but I’m hoping that there is more purpose behind it than that. And might PL’s UEFA experience, much like John Reid’s political contacts beforehand, be the reason for the appointment?



    Hail Hail.

  19. !!BADA BING!! on 3RD DECEMBER –



    2022 2:01 PM


    CCV a sub……he was excellent last game…




    Yes. I’m very disappointed and surprised about that.

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