Garry Cook has resigned as Manchester City chief executive following the email scandal which saw the mother of first-team defender Nedum Onuoha mocked during her battle against cancer.
Following the emergence of the emails earlier this week, City chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak triggered a board-led investigation following Cook’s claim that his email account had been hacked into.
But after a five-day internal probe, involving a study of IT records, the club this afternoon issued a statement announcing Cook’s resignation which has been accepted with "regret".
The statement said: "Manchester City Football Club announce that the board led review initiated on Monday of this week, as a response to allegations made to the football club, football authorities and a national newspaper by Dr Anthonia Onuoha, has been concluded.
"As a result, the club can confirm that there is foundation to Dr Onuoha’s allegations and the chairman has written to apologise to Dr Onuoha for any distress caused.
“Following the findings of the review, chief executive officer Garry Cook has offered his resignation, which has been accepted with regret by the board."
Following Cook’s departure, chairman Al Mubarak paid tribute to the former Nike executive’s achievements over three-and-a-half years at Eastlands.
He said: “Garry has made a remarkable contribution to Manchester City Football Club over the past three years.
“His judgement in this matter should in no way lead to his accomplishments being overlooked. On every level, the club is unrecognisable from the organisation which he inherited and our staff and supporter services, community outreach and commercial activity have seen unparalleled growth under his direction with yet more projects to be realised on the horizon.
“On behalf of Sheikh Mansour and the Board, I would like to thank him for his energy and tireless commitment to serving all those connected with the football club. He will always be welcome at Manchester City.”
Cook, currently with his family on holiday in the United States, added: “I am privileged to have held my position at Manchester City Football Club and to have experienced the opportunities that it has presented.
“The privilege is in part offset however by the significant personal focus which has at times, detracted from the magnificent achievements of those working at the football club.
“It is that factor, together with my error of judgement in this matter that has prompted me to reach this decision, which I believe is in the best interests of the football club.
“I wish Roberto (Mancini) and his team and all of the fans and supportive partners of the club the very best for exciting times ahead. I would also like to put on record my unreserved thanks to Sheikh Mansour, Khaldoon Al Mubarak and the board and all of the very talented staff at the club for their support throughout my tenure at Manchester City. I know the club will go from strength to strength.”
Whilst the Board commences a search for a new chief executive officer, director John MacBeath will fulfil the role of temporary CEO, working closely with the board.
Cook’s resignation comes just hours after Onuoha’s mother, Dr Anthonia Onuoha, told the Manchester Evening News of her anger at the email scandal.
“I couldn’t believe someone could mock my pain and suffering.” Dr Onuoha said. “The investigation, I expect, will be thorough and the appropriate punishment meted out to whoever sent me the email.
“Whoever sent it should be brought to book. I do have a private view of what the person responsible should do, but the investigators need to do the right thing morally.
“I am surprised they (City) have not contacted me yet. What had happened to me is indefensible. No-one can justify it ever.
“No-one can humiliate me, or my son, and expect to get away with it.”