Leeann Dempster: Scottish football chief executive had ‘backside slapped’

Posted: 4th May 2022

Leeann Dempster says one of her first experiences as an executive in Scottish football was having her “backside slapped” by a male staff member.

The 51-year-old was left “shocked” by the incident.

She told BBC Scotland’s Behind the Goals podcast that she later confronted the person.

Dempster is currently chief executive of Scottish League 1 club Queen’s Park, having started at Motherwell in 2008 then joined Hibernian six years later.

“My welcome to the first game in the boardroom was to have my backside slapped by somebody, really hard,” said Dempster.

“It was actually on the way to the boardroom. It was a staff member, it wasn’t a director.

“I was so shocked, I hardly did anything. Afterwards I went back and said to him, ‘One time only,’ type thing.”

On being one of the few women in a position of power in the Scottish men’s game, Dempster added: “People would always focus on that in the past.

“But visibility around the game is just wonderful, participation in the game is wonderful now, so I don’t really think about it. I’ve always worked in male-dominated environments.”

Dempster also told how she “genuinely regrets” the manner of Neil Lennon’s departure as Hibs head coach. Lennon left in January 2019 after being suspended by the club following an exchange between him and several employees.

“It was at a point where it probably had to happen, for him and us,” said Dempster. “If I had that to do over again, I would do it in a different way.”

Listen to the full interview with Dempster on the Behind the Goals podcast.


Categories: News