Adam Pearson explains Hull FC restructure after paying tribute to departing James Clark

Hull FC owner Adam Pearson at the MKM Stadium.
Hull FC owner Adam Pearson at the MKM Stadium. -Credit:News Images

Hull FC chairman Adam Pearson will step up as acting chief executive to fill the void left by James Clark's upcoming departure. Pearson will appoint a new 'non-executive chairman' to work alongside both himself and the director of rugby Richie Myler, after Clark called time on a 15-year association with the Black and Whites that began in 2009. He will leave the club later this month.

Pearson, who has been the sole owner of Hull since July 2011, will now take on a more hands-on role to keep the club going, with Myler, who is understood to be linked to new investment, currently in search of both a new head coach after the club parted ways with Tony Smith last month, and new players, with the club looking to strengthen their squad.

In a thorough statement, Pearson paid tribute to Clark and his service, declaring that the club wouldn't have survived the coronavirus pandemic without him, and that he will be 'sorely missed.'

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Pearson said: "Five months ago, I began the search for new shareholders and directors to help us share the burden and responsibility of a large sports franchise in a landscape where central broadcast distributions are over a million pounds less than they were in 2016.

"With that in mind and after what has been an exhausting few years, James has made the credible decision that, prior to any restructure, is the right time for a change in his sporting career and in terms of his family life. His commitment to the club has been such that he has barely seen his very young children over the last few years, and after reflecting on some recent family events, he feels that needs to become his priority for the time being, which we fully support.

"On behalf of everyone at Hull FC, I would like to place on record my personal thanks to James for his unbelievable contribution to the last decade at the club, which has seen us progress to success at Wembley and on to a Super League ‘A Grade’ rating off the field, with a burgeoning academy and training facility that would be the envy of most in Super League.

"Moving forward, I will now combine the roles of chairman and chief executive for the foreseeable future. I will also undertake a search to find a non-executive chairman capable of assisting me in ensuring the club continues to run in the most professional manner possible so that the two roles can continue to be separate on a long-term basis.

"Richie Myler and I will now work closely together day-to-day to ensure the club can continue to work back towards the glory days we enjoyed in recent years, which James played such an integral leadership role in delivering over the last decade. We wish James and his family the very best for the future, and I wish him all the success in his venture.”

Pearson, who highlighted the tough challenges through the coronavirus pandemic, added: "James has achieved so much at Hull FC and will be sorely missed by everyone working at the club, particularly myself. In James’ first three years as chief executive, we won back-to-back Challenge Cup finals with a squad of players and staff that was put together by James, Lee Radford and Motu Tony, and some squad it was. We continued to qualify for the play-offs through to the end of the 2020 season under Andy Last, and the first five years of James’ tenure made very impressive reading as the club went from strength to strength on and off the field.

"The unexpected onset of the coronavirus pandemic brought about a whole new series of unprecedented challenges that James met head-on with great success, steering the club through uncharted waters. I actually believe that the club would not have survived that period had it not been for his input and leadership.

"The biggest stadium and largest facility costs in Super League being compounded by our inability to allow supporters to enter the ground during the pandemic would have been a scenario that would have broken most clubs and most chief executives, but he grasped that challenge with both hands. Since the pandemic, it has been a significant challenge for the club to remain afloat and become financially solvent again, which we have all worked incredibly hard to deliver. With James’ hard work and guidance, alongside our Head of Finance, Nigel Hansford, we believe we have achieved this goal.

"Despite recently posting £1 million losses for 2023, we remain on target to breakeven in 2024, despite disappointing performances on the pitch, which is an incredible effort and reward for some extensive work behind the scenes. This year is anticipated to be our highest turnover figures for several years, only bettered by our cup-winning campaign in 2017, which is testament to James’ efforts to safeguard the future of the club and see it grow again, alongside his loyal team of staff."

Read more: James Clark to depart Hull FC as chief executive calls time after 15 years service