Widnes Vikings: Steve O'Connor steps down as chairman

Steve O'Connor has relinquished his position as chairman of Widnes but will remain with the Super League outfit as part of their board of directors.

O'Connor has invested millions into the Vikings, taking them out of administration in 2007 and helping them return to the top flight last season.

The club are searching for a new board of directors as they look to build a sustainable business model.

Chief executive James Rule will oversee the day-to-day running of the club.

O'Connor told the club website:  "I work closely with James and he has had overall responsibility in managing the club since I recruited him in September last year.

When you look at any sporting club, it's common to have a diverse group of men and women on the board that can allow you to take the next step, which is what we want to do

James Rule Chief executive, Widnes Vikings

"Our values and vision are perfectly aligned and his presence and the strategy he is implementing has enabled me to make this decision, thereby freeing up time to concentrate on my other business interests.''

Speaking to BBC Radio Merseyside, Rule added: "It's very much part of the evolutionary process of the club. Everyone's aware that we've got a board of one man in Steve, with the entire shareholding.

"What we're looking to do is build a board around Steve, bring in some new investors, and the obvious benefit of that is there will be an injection of cash into the business.

"When you look at any sporting club, it's common to have a diverse group of men and women on the board that can allow you to take the next step, which is what we want to do."

And despite stepping down as chairman, Rule believes O'Connor's commitment to the club will remain as strong as ever.

"Without speaking for Steve, he'll be the first to say that himself," he said.

Having been awarded a three-year licence in 2011, Widnes finished bottom of Super League in 2012 - their first season back in the top division - but have made a brighter start this term and are 10th with four wins from their first 11 matches.