BCFC: Directors 101

One of the more interesting things to emerge for me during the managerial change at Birmingham City last week was the number of Blues fans who were unsure as to who could actually make the decision to remove Steve Cotterill. With this in mind, I’ve put together this article outlining the Birmingham City board in full to try to offer a better insight into just who wields the power.

Birmingham City FC

As with any article I’ve written about the board, please note that I use the Chinese name order and as such the names written below may appear different to the way they are listed on the official Birmingham City website.

Zhao Wenqing

Although Zhao is only a director on the BCFC board, he holds the office of Chairman of the Birmingham Sports Holding board and as such is a very powerful figure.

Zhao is normally based in Beijing, and it’s my understanding that he works directly for the owners as their right-hand man. It’s no coincidence that his arrival in Birmingham came the same week that Blues interviewed new managers and made the change – make no mistake, Zhao was the one who made that decision.

Unfortunately there are no photos and very little verifiable information in the public domain about Zhao that I have not covered already on this website.

Ren Xuandong

Ren is both Director and Chief Executive Officer of Birmingham City FC. What that means in reality is that the head Chinese guy in Birmingham on a normal daily basis is Ren and that he fills a role much like the one Panos Pavlakis did; albeit with a lot fewer tweets.

Like Panos, Ren is the bloke that the manager speaks to day to day about finances for transfers and that sort of thing. He’s also probably the guy who could and should be talking to the media about the plans of the board but unfortunately we’ve not seen much of that since Cotteril’s introductory press conference.

While Ren was very much present at Monk’s press conference, journalists were directed to ask no questions of him at that time as it was to be about Monk; I’ve heard vague rumours he will talk to the press in the near future but no firm date has been set.

Edward Zheng Gannan

Zheng is the other member of the Birmingham City board who is in Birmingham on a daily basis. Educated in Birmingham at the University of Central England, Zheng should know the city fairly well.

I have to be honest, I’m not entirely sure of his remit at the club. The only thing I do know for sure is that he is of a lower rank to Ren and therefore is not as an intrinsic part in the decision making process.

Shayne Wang Yao

Like Zhao, Wang is based in Beijing normally, only being called to Birmingham when it necessary to have a quorum of directors on site. This was the case last week and he flew in to Birmingham from Beijing with Zhao to be a part of the process.

However, like Zheng, Wang has no real power and is ranked at roughly the same level as him. Thus while he was present I don’t think Wang would have had much sway over who was appointed and when.

Yiu Chun Kong

Yiu is a director of Birmingham City and of Birmingham Sports Holdings, and is based out in Hong Kong. Unlike the other four, Yiu works closely with Paul Suen Cho-hung and is on a couple of other listed company’s boards of directors.

Yiu is an accountant, and my brief understanding of his role is that he is the man who keeps track of the financial aspects of the company. As a confidante of Suen, I suspect Yiu will also be aware of how Trillion Trophy Asia feel about what is happening at the club and will be Suen’s voice in board meetings.

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