New acting Celtic CEO Michael Nicholson profiled as uncertainty takes hold

By Euan Davidson

September 10, 2021

Even the most tuned-in Celtic supporters might be wondering who acting CEO Michael Nicholson is.

After today’s stunning developments, Nicholson has been parachuted in to replace Dom McKay, on at least a temporary basis. The club’s Director of Legal and Football Affairs from 2019, Nicholson joined Celtic six years prior, as Company Secretary and Head of Legal [Celtic FC].

Nicholson’s CV is considerable. From a law background, Nicholson attained degrees from both the University of Strathclyde and the University of Glasgow. That was before a stint with the world-famous Harvard Business School [LinkedIn].

Between his undergrad and his Master’s, Nicholson joined legal firm Harper MacLeod, being made a partner in 2002.

The opportunity to join Celtic, though, became too big to miss in 2013. He was also later made an Arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

A member of the Celtic PLC board since 2013 [Celtic FC], the club haven’t offered much personal information about Nicholson. Inevitably, he’ll have to meet the media. But whether he is as engaged with supporters and the press as McKay was in his short spell will be interesting to observe.

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Michael Nicholson: the acting Celtic CEO with plenty to do

What a task Nicholson has ahead of him as Celtic acting CEO. First things first, he’ll need to be at the forefront when the club explain all this to the supporters.

McKay’s fingerprints are all over much of the good things coming out of Celtic so far this season. The season ticket offerings, the expansion of the club’s B Team and Women’s Teams in terms of media engagement, all seemed like McKay moves.

Not only that, Ange Postecoglou was revealed to the press in tandem with McKay. What this means for Postecoglou’s future is a worry unto itself.

McKay’s media and marketing background put him in good stead to be a public-facing CEO that fans could relate to. Nicholson, with his own impressive CV and career trajectory, is less well-known.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

However, the club seem to have confidence in the acting CEO. Ian Bankier said of Nicholson [Celtic FC]:

“It has been my pleasure to work closely with Michael for more than 8 years now. Having been at the heart of the senior executive and reporting to the Board, he has a solid grip on how to achieve our immediate and future objectives.

“Michael is an absolute team player and he will lead an experienced and talented team of executives and colleagues at Celtic.”

Bankier’s endorsement aside, Nicholson will have assert himself quickly. That is, if he is to allay any supporters’ fears over the boardroom politics at the club.

Read more: Celtic fans take in shock Friday news after McKay steps down