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Welcome Katrien Meire

Roland Duchâtelet first statement today included a welcome to Katrien Meire, who one assumes will be Roland’s eyes and ears at The Valley.

“Richard (Murray) will act as the spokesperson for the board, just as Chris Powell will represent the first team, and both men are hugely respected by our fans. I would also like to introduce Ms Katrien Meire who has been appointed onto the board and will be working at The Valley from now on.”

Ms Meire is currently the Legal and International Relations Manager at Standard Liège, which roughly translates into business leader with a legal background.

Football clubs with lawyers at the helm protecting less visible owners are hardly unusual. Bruce Buck does it at Chelsea and Ivan Gazidis at Arsenal for example. Michael Slater could have been described similarly of course, but let’s not hold that against Katrien.

I note that she has only been at Standard Liège since September. A lawyer by trade, she was previously at the very well regarded Chicago based law firm Baker & MacKenzie (just next door from where I used to work) before being hired by Duchâtelet, maybe in the knowledge that she would run one of his new football projects or perhaps impressing so much that when he bought Charlton, she was his number one choice to lead it for him. She also lived in London 5-6 years ago.

At Liège she has been involved in the transfer negotiations for rising Belgian star Michy Batshuayi, being chased by Arsenal and I would think and hope that one of her roles at The Valley will be players transfers and contracts and the liason between Chris Powell and Duchâtelet. Richard Murray taking on the very familiar role of elder statesman and consort in the grimy and cut-throat world of football club boardrooms.

By all accounts Ms Meire has been at The Valley all week and was apparently introduced as the new Sporting Director, but I see no mention of that in Roland’s introductory statement.

A bit of a non-conventional appointment then, not because of her background, but only because you can name senior female figures in football on one hand, and therefore we should expect Katrien to get some media attention.

Roland’s initial statement was positive, but I don’t expect to hear much more from him for a while, but we should expect to hear a vision from Ms Meire soon. In the meantime let’s make her welcome in her new home.

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