Taylor, who stands down on Wednesday after 30 months in the top job, denied that the move was demotion.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the reorganisation which led to his change of role, the former SFA chief executive said: “I understand that there may be those who consider this a move sideways or to a lesser job. But when you consider the size and scale of the new post, and the much sharper accountability involved, then that is clearly not the case.

“Over the past few years there has been an enormous growth in the business and commercial activities of UEFA. Our annual revenues are around €1500m, the bulk of it generated by the Champions League and the European Championships.

“The management of these activities demands different skills from those of a straightforward football administrator. There was a need to restructure the operations to separate more clearly the football administration activities from the business and commercial work.

“Giving up the status of general secretary was a difficult decision to make, but as I said once or twice when I was chief executive of the SFA, I never saw myself as purely a football administrator. Competition administration and committee work is important and necessary, particularly in the interests of football democracy, but it is not my favourite field of operation.

“Given the opportunity to create a new company with overall responsibility for all TV deals, sponsorship and branding, and the management of all our major events, such as the Champions League final, 
I knew I had to leave the post of general secretary to take up this challenge.”

Taylor will be replaced on Thursday by Gianni Infantino, an Italian lawyer who briefly held the post in an interim capacity before the Scot arrived in March 2007. Taylor will not have to report to his successor, who has been relieved of all commercial and marketing responsibilities. The new company will have its own board, chaired by Michel Platini, the UEFA president.

It will move into a new, purpose-built headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, early next year, but for now it will be “business as usual” according to Taylor, who will have 150 staff working for him.

“The new position obviously does not have the historical prestige attached to the general secretary role,” the 55-year-old said. “But I am pleased to be able to have the opportunity to use many of the business skills 
I developed before I joined the SFA in 1999, in the service of European football.

“One of my biggest challenges will be the delivery of Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. The infrastructure in these two countries, particularly Ukraine, is not of the same standard as in western Europe and the recent economic crisis has had severe effects, again particularly in Ukraine.”

Taylor also paid tribute to David Will, the former FIFA vice-president, who has died. The two men were born in nearby towns in Angus and Taylor said: “Obviously I had known David for a number of years because he came from just down the road. But I only got to know him well through the SFA and international football. He was an upstanding man and very well respected in the football world.”