South African Wits CEO in shock move

2008-05-07 17:42:04 Xinhua English

JOHANNESBURG, May 7 (Xinhua) -- South African Wits University soccer CEO Derek Blanckensee, the last of the "Three Musketeers" who guided the fortunes of the club for more than 25 years, is leaving to assume a position with the 2010 World Cup Organising committee.

The shock news that Blanckensee will follow Safa CEO Raymond Hack and PSL chief operations officer Ronnie Schloss to other soccer pastures was released on Wednesday, with even the players seemingly unaware of the administrative shake-up that was brewing in the corridors of Bidvest -the owners of the club.

"I met with the players this morning to assure them the move has nothing to do with the recent poor results of the team," said Blanckensee, who has enjoyed a close association with Safa which goes back 33 years to his connections with amateur football.

But while Blanckensee emphasized his long-standing ties with Wits and said he hoped to be able to return to the club which has "defined" his life after the completion of the World Cup, it was suggested by some that "where there is smoke there is, more often than not, fire".

And the unheralded departure of the Wits CEO could well also be connected to the failure of Wits to come up to the high expectations of the dynamic conglomerate who now own the club, the South African Press Association reported.

Bidvest's multi-millionaire boss, Brian Joffe, is not known to be sympathetic to losers and the failure of Wits to hit the high spots in the PSL, after spending a considerable sum of money, might not be unconnected to the announced shake-up.

Schloss, Hack and Blanckensee were all basically from the old amateur school in spite of guiding Wits competently in a professional environment, but wheeler-and-dealer Joffe is renowned for demanding a little more than that from his employees.