Bristol City will not directly replace the outgoing CEO, who stepped down earlier this week. Bristol City have promoted Finance Director Tom Rawcliffe to Chief Operating Officer, after Phil Alexander’s departure from Ashton Gate as CEO last week.
Alexander resigned abruptly after only eight months in the post, with City announcing the news in a brief statement on Sunday evening, in which chairman Jon Lansdown praised the former Crystal Palace chief executive for “his contribution to the club.”
Rawcliffe will now take on a new role that will combine his financial responsibilities with a more all-encompassing one, working closely with technical director Brian Tinnion and Bristol Sport CEO Gavin Marshall, who sits on the board with Jon Lansdown.
Tinnion will continue to supervise football choices for the club’s men’s team, working alongside manager Nigel Pearson and his coaching staff.
“With Brian’s football experience and knowledge, as well as Tom’s financial and administrative skills, we have a strong model for the foreseeable future,” stated Jon Lansdown. “We are excited about this season and believe that this is the right approach for us to be successful.”
Pearson hinted at a reorganization during his post-match press conference following Tuesday night’s 4-1 victory over Plymouth Argyle at Ashton Gate. The structure is similar to that of Bristol Bears, with Tom Tainton appointed COO in July 2022, replacing long-serving CEO Mark Tainton. Tom Tainton was previously the Premiership Rugby side’s Head of Operations.
It is also the club’s first COO since 2016, when Mark Ashton was hired on a permanent basis before being promoted to CEO the following year.
Rawcliffe has been with City since March 2021, first as Financial Controller – he held that role at AFC Wimbledon for more than two years – before becoming Head of Finance and Finance Director in January, when Alexander took over as CEO from Richard Gould. He has a degree in economics from the University of Sheffield and an MBA from the University of Liverpool, where he studied the football industry.
Rawcliffe collaborated extensively with Gould throughout the club’s post-Covid “financial reset” in terms of decreasing the payroll cost and negotiating potential financial fair play difficulties. He is not likely to have the same public visibility as Alexander or his predecessor, with Tinnion and Pearson continuing to handle fan communication.