MANLY co-owner Scott Penn faces an uncertain future at the premiers after he was asked to step down as chairman at a fiery board meeting.
A no-confidence motion in Penn's chairmanship was carried at a three-hour meeting of directors at Manly Leagues Club on Wednesday night. Penn refused to stand down but faces the prospect of being chairman in name only after he was stripped of his role as spokesperson for the board. That role has been given to Phil Sydney, of Sea Eagles co-owner Quantum. Sydney declined to comment last night.
The Penn family owns between 50 and 51 per cent of the premiership-winning club with Quantum (about 37.5 per cent) and the district club (approximately 12 per cent) rounding out the ownership structure. Yet, despite being the minority owners, Quantum and the district club representatives used their numbers on the board to carry the motions 4-3.
It's understood that the meeting, in which there was a disagreement over several other matters, was one of the most heated in the club's history. The Herald was told that there were concerns Penn was refusing to work in an inclusive way with the other stakeholders.
The Penns have attempted to increase their stake in Manly by offering to buy out Quantum's holding on several occasions. However, the overtures have been rejected.
''Since they bought in, in 2006, they have been offside with every single stakeholder involved in the business,'' a source said. ''Their sole outcome has been to gain ultimate control.''
Concerned with the running of the club, other parties had expressed interest in buying into the Sea Eagles. The Sun-Herald revealed last October that United Resource Management managing director Anthony Johnston was interested in acquiring equity and a position on the board. However, Penn vetoed the proposal.
''As a supporter and sponsor, we are disappointed that self-interest and agendas have taken focus away from the fantastic efforts of the men in our team that delivered the club another premiership,'' Johnston said at the time.
The dramas are the latest instalment in a series of power struggles since the club was privatised. These have not distracted the playing group, which won the title in 2008 and again last year. Penn did not return the Herald's call last night
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