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Long-serving former CEO Simon Cohen to sue Leicester Tigers

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Simon Cohen is set to sue Leicester Tigers, the Gallagher Premiership club where he worked as CEO for eight years until his sudden May 2020 departure. The administrator, who had previously served another seven years in different roles, stepped up to become chief executive in 2012, one year before the club won its last Premiership title, but he was shown the door during the early months of the pandemic lockdown that delayed the completion of the 2019/20 season. 


RugbyPass understands that the ex-Tigers CEO is set to appear in court this Monday in Leicester and is suing for unfair dismissal and for loss of earnings arising out of his exit from the club. 

It was 22 months ago – May 11, 2020 – when it emerged via a Leicester Tigers statement that the club had parted company with Cohen amid a raft of on and off-field changes that included Steve Borthwick becoming head coach from July 1 that year. 

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RugbyPass goes behind the scenes at the Leicester Tigers academy
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RugbyPass goes behind the scenes at the Leicester Tigers academy

A statement at that time stated: “Leicester Tigers announces the departure of Simon Cohen as chief executive and that, with immediate effect, Andrea Pinchen will be the club’s new chief executive, having previously been its chief operating officer.”

That Leicester media release was accompanied by quotes from chairman Peter Tom. He said: “Simon has served Tigers for 15 years, playing a vital role in the professionalisation of the club’s activities on and off the field. 


“After many years of service and in the context of the challenges presented by Covid-19, Simon and the board agreed now was the right time for him to step down as chief executive. We thank him for his contribution and wish him the very best for the future. I’m delighted that Andrea has agreed to become the club’s chief executive. She brings huge passion, commitment and energy to the club and was the board’s unanimous choice. We are sure she will be a great success in her new role and we wish her every success.”


There were no quotes attributed to Cohen in this Leicester exit statement but just three days before his snap departure he had spoken optimistically about the club’s future when confirming the coaching team for the 2020/21 season across the senior, development, academy and pathway programmes.

“We have not hidden from the fact that, in recent seasons, the club has not delivered on the pitch up to the standard which we deem successful at Leicester Tigers,” said Cohen. 

“The mix of experience, innovation and, most impressively, the hunger to work hard and succeed that this new-look coaching team has is something we should all be, and are, excited about to take the Tigers forward on the next step of this journey.

“We are building nicely, yes, but there are no quick fixes and, club-wide, we need to now commit to the hard work required to deliver for our fans, partners and ourselves,” he said. 


That optimism suggested that Cohen was very much eager to be part of this new chapter, but he was gone from Leicester just 72 hours later even though his experience in salary cap management and his hard-nosed style had been seen as Welford Road assets.

Cohen’s May 2020 exit meant he became the fourth board member to leave since December 2019, the CEO following Lord Digby Marritt Jones, Terence Michael Gateley and Peter Aldis in departing.


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