In truth, that should be a straight-forward question. The Rangers International Football Club board only contains two directors and there is no chief executive. Under the auspices of the nominated advisor (nomad), which manages RIFC's listing on the Alternative Investment Market, the main shareholder blocks should have approved new director appointments and seen a governance committee formed to embark on the recruitment process for a new CEO, using a headhunter firm. Instead, Rangers cannot emerge from this period of conflict.
Dave King attempted to broker a compromise. He was prepared to join the board as chairman and work alongside directors approved by the two sides. Yet "certain influential shareholders are unwilling to compromise at this time", leaving King with no option but to withdraw and await developments. He remains committed to taking a role at the club and leading the fundraising that is required to bridge the impending financial shortfall.
King and Jim McColl, the Glasgow businessman, both outlined last week that while administration is not imminent, the club will reach a pinch point in its finances towards the end of the season, probably around April. King, indeed, believes two rights issues will be required to ensure Rangers eventually return to the top flight in a strong enough state to meet supporter expectations. For the money to be raised, the board needs to be properly constituted, with directors of varying skill sets and corporate governance experience, and the club working to a business plan that acknowledges the funding shortfall and the club's requirements.
So why has this not happened? There are several reasons, most of them involving personalities and their attendant consequences. King was careful in his comments on Friday, and praised the "constructive" approach of Sandy Easdale and Paul Murray. In effect, he was saying that the failure to reach consensus was not down to these two individuals directly. Later in the day, a statement released by the shareholders backed by McColl and Murray said King continues to have their ongoing support.
Sandy Easdale and his brother James own around 5% of RIFC stock, but represent around 25% in total through proxy agreements with Blue Pitch Holdings (BPH) and Margarita Holdings (MH), as well as holding an arrangement to purchase Charles Green's shares when the former chief executive's lock-in period ends next month. The terms of all of these agreements are unknown. As King observed, the Easdales now find themselves "in an uncomfortable position".
After striking their agreements with BPH, MH and Green, the Easdales became influential figures at the club, with James becoming a non-executive director of RIFC plc and Sandy joining the football club board. If they follow through on their share purchase agreements, they will have a significant say in the club's future, but there has been a reputation risk in being so closely aligned to BPH, MH and Green. They were all fundamental to the consortium that bought the business and assets of Rangers Football Club plc in 2012 and the disintegration of that regime has made it increasingly toxic in the eyes of supporters.
Protests against the board have grown in prominence in recent weeks, until a date for the delayed annual general meeting is fixed. Two long-standing Rangers supporters are prepared to pay for it to be held somewhere other than Ibrox, because football commitments preclude it being held there until well into December. The current make-up of the Rangers board is unsustainable, though, even in the short-term.
Rangers need funding, new directors and good corporate governance, and anybody with either the club's interests or the interests of the share value in mind should be pressing for these matters to be addressed. The institutional shareholders backed by McColl want to see Paul Murray, Malcolm Murray, Scott Murdoch and Alex Wilson voted on to the board at the AGM. In the meantime, they are seeking clarity on who the ultimate beneficial shareholders are in BPH and MH, since both have played a key role in the saga. It is possible for a group of more than 10% of shareholders to embark upon a legal process to compel the club to reveal that information, but that would cost time and money.
King attempted to find a way through these entanglements, while remaining independent. Other high net worth supporters are waiting to invest once King is involved, so a solution that is amenable to the fans does lie in wait. It is now time for decisions to be made.