Mark Catlin on why Portsmouth were willing to pay MK Dons to land Andrew Cullen as chief executive

Mark Catlin admits determination to land his ‘ideal’ replacement meant Pompey had no qualms paying compensation.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 5:00 pm
Andrew Cullen starts as Pompey chief executive on Tuesday (June 1)

Andrew Cullen will start work as the Blues’s new chief executive on Tuesday (June 1).

With Catlin earmarked for the general manager’s job at Topps, the search for a successor focused on MK Dons.

Pompey were required to reach a financial settlement to land Cullen, having served as the Dons’ executive director for 12-and-a-half years,

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That precise figure has not been made public – yet Catlin is adamant the fee was necessary to ensure the favoured candidate was at Fratton Park as soon as possible.

He told The News: ‘As MK Dons mentioned, we paid compensation for Andy.

‘We’ve always said we are not averse to that for the right person in the right role, whether that be a player, manager or senior member of the executive team.

‘In business, compensation is very normal. People are contracted and you have to make the decision whether you want to wait X number of months for that person to join - or do you want to negotiate to get them out earlier?

‘We did the latter.

‘Andy’s the ideal candidate and it’s important, in regards of the season, that he comes in well before pre-season, working with Danny, Nicky and the rest of the team in getting us prepared for next year.

‘Every person has different skill sets and I think he will complement the existing executive team and football team brilliantly.

‘We have some great individuals at the club who are hard working, dedicated and skilled at what they do.

‘The job of the CEO is to bring that together to formulate the perfect structure.’

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Cullen will become Pompey’s fourth chief executive in almost 20 years.

Peter Storrie, David Lampitt and Catlin are predecessors in a role which inevitably can attract criticism from supporters.

And Catlin believes his replacement’s first challenge will be negotiating the transition period as he settles into life at Fratton Park.

He added: ‘Andy at the minute is totally committed to MK Dons, although we’ve had a few discussions between us all, just ensuring the transition period goes as smoothly as possible.

‘I believe there’s a few days where he has to sort out where he’s going to live, so there is a lot going on for the first week or two. I think he will be in full swing by the middle of June.

‘It’s a big move and part of the deal that we struck with MK is we would do all we could to help facilitate a smooth transition from their end as well.

‘It’s not like you can cut it off one day and then not take phone calls or do interviews.

‘There’s also a transition period for myself into Topps.

‘I will be fully immersed into Topps from June 1 – but am always on the other end of the phone should anyone need help or advice in the interim.’

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