Leighton resigned from the Leeds board in December to work on a rescue plan for the ailing club which has debts of £80m.
He is one of the most powerful business executives in the UK; he is currently chairman of the Royal Mail, where he has orchestrated a successful reversal in its fortunes and is also chairman of BskyB’s audit committee. He is also chairman of online retailer Lastminute.com.
Dr Bill Gerrard, professor of sport management and finance at Leeds University Business School, told the BBC Online that Leighton offered the best hope of survival for Leeds:
‘I think there has been one consortium being put together that had enough credibility to get Leeds a “standstill agreement” until 19 January, and that is Allan Leighton’s consortium.
‘I have said since September 2002 that the one person with the experience and the ability to sort this out is Allan Leighton.’
Earlier this month Leighton was named ninth most influential person on Accountancy Age’s Financial Power list for 2004.
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