Chairman’s HR training provides juggling skills

Leeds United’s chairman believes that his background in HR has given him the
skills to deal with the football club’s recent troubles, including the high
profile trial of two of its footballers on assault charges.

Peter Ridsdale, who enjoyed a 17-year career in HR including senior
positions at ICL, the Burton Group and Del Monte, told the Recruitment Society
last week that his time in HR has helped him lead the club through turbulent
times since he joined as chairman in 1997.

This year the club has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons
following the conviction for affray of England international Jonathan Woodgate
after an attack on an Asian student and the acquittal of team-mate Lee Bowyer.

Ridsdale said: "No football club in this country has had to go through
what Leeds has. My time in HR taught me that if you are in line management you
must get out there and show leadership when times are tough."

He believes the skills he learnt in HR have also helped him balance the
needs of both supporters and shareholders throughout the problems.

Ridsdale said: "You try selling a player when you have 40,000 people
telling you what they will do to you if you do. And try sacking him when he is
worth £15 million and shareholders want to cash in on the value of the squad.

"Like HR, I have to advise others on the best course of action. My time
in HR taught me that you must persuade people and not tell them what to do,
especially when they are 20 years old and earn £2 million a year."

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