Briatore Quits

New Chairman announced at Queens Park Rangers

Flavio Briatore has stepped down as Chairman of Queens Park Rangers, the Club has announced. CEO Ishan Saksena has been appointed in his place.

Briatore bought QPR in September 2007 with Forumla One boss Bernie Ecclestone, saving it from the brink of administration. Briatore vowed at the time that the Loftus Road Club would be in the Premier League within five years. But it has been beset by problems since the Italian billionaire took the helm and he was often reported to be interfering in team affairs. 10 new managers have come and gone in the past two-and-a-half years, 47 new players have been signed and QPR are currently 19th in the Championship table and have lost five out of the last six matches.

“My three years as Chairman of QPR have been an exciting and incredible experience. I'm proud to have helped save this historical Club and to have contributed in paving the way to its future success,” Briatore said.

“Although my commitment to the Club remains unchanged, I now feel the need to focus my energies into other fields as well. I'm very happy that my position as Chairman of QPR will go to Ishan Saksena. I'm sure he will do a brilliant job and under his leadership the Club will soon achieve the stability and the good results we all expect.”

Ishan Saksena is currently CEO and Managing Director of QPR. He has 10 years' experience in Mergers and Acquisitions, private equity and asset management in North America, Europe and Emerging Markets and during his career he has been involved in multi-billion dollar private equity transactions and restructuring within the consumer, retail, industrial and energy sectors. He is an alumnus of Cornell University in the U.S.

On his new appointment, Ishan Saksena said: “Since becoming CEO, I have developed a great love and very strong passion for the Club. It is therefore a great honour for me to assume this position. It is a position of trust and I will hold it with great pride. I would like to thank Flavio for all his hard work during his time here and for the many positive additions he has made.

“I must also express my gratitude to all our fans who are the real owners of the Club. I feel a responsibility to repay their loyalty and intend to do all I can to bring the great days back to Loftus Road.”

Saksena is said to be actively looking for a permanent team manager to take over from Mick Hartford, who has held the post on a temporary basis since Paul Hart stood down in mid-January.

Both Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone remain shareholders of the Club, while the family of steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal have increased their shareholding. Mittal's son-in-law, Amit Bhatia was brought into the club by Briatore and Ecclestone in December 2007, when he bought a 20% stake.

On the new appointment, Bhatia said: “I have known Ishan for 12 years now and I know his feelings for our Club run very deeply. Our immediate priority must be to re-introduce stability into the Club and safeguard our future in the Championship.

“The season has been disappointing so far, but there are still many games to go. We must make every effort to end it positively, not least for our fans, the people who have continued to support and believe in the Club through all the highs and lows. Together we can succeed.”

February 21, 2010