CEO Cortese leaves Southampton

Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:33pm EST
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By Steve Wood

LONDON (Reuters) - Nicola Cortese, the man credited with driving Southampton's renaissance as a force in the English Premier League, has left the club, Southampton said on Wednesday.

"Southampton FC announces that club owner Katharina Liebherr has taken on the role of non-executive chairman," the club said on their Twitter feed.

"This follows the resignation of Nicola Cortese. A search has begun for a Chief Executive Officer."

Liebherr paid tribute to Cortese's contribution.

"With great regret we have accepted the resignation of Mr Cortese," she said. ""He (Cortese) has done a wonderful job and we very much wanted him to stay. A search has now begun for a successor.

"It is business as usual and we will ensure that the manager, team and staff at the club have all the help and support they need."

Cortese, the 45-year-old Italian banker who became the Saints' executive chairman in 2009, suffered an "irretrievable breakdown" in relations with club owners the Liebherr estate, the Southern Daily Echo reported.

Cortese submitted his resignation amid persistent reports in the British and Italian media saying AC Milan want to lure him to the San Siro.   Continued...