David Haigh, appointed as managing director by Gulf Finance House of Bahrain, issued the briefest of statements to announce Bates's departure from a position planned to last three years.
"Ken Bates has ceased to be president of Leeds United," the statement read, shortly after 8pm on Friday. "Mr Bates will now no longer have any role within the football club."
Bates took up the role of president, understood to have no decision-making or financial power, only on 1 July, an arrangement agreed when he sold Leeds to GFH in December. Despite selling all his shares for a still undisclosed sum, the agreement between Bates and GFH was for him to stay on as the club's chairman until the end of last season, then become the president.
Living in Monaco where he is understood to be a UK tax exile, Bates, an Oldham Athletic director in the 1960s and Chelsea chairman from 1982 to 2003, arrived at Leeds, then in financial difficulties, in 2005.
He said for six years he was only the Leeds chairman, paid no salary and had no financial relationship with the actual owners, unnamed investors in offshore funds registered in various tax havens. In 2011 Bates announced he had bought the club himself, via a company, Outro, registered in the tax haven of Nevis.
Famously Bates promised the fans "a lorra, lorra laughs" under his chairmanship, but it was largely a disappointment, at a club still potentially among English football's biggest. He put Leeds into administration in 2007 with £30m debts including around £7m owed to HM Revenue and Customs, and Leeds suffered a 15-point penalty even after being relegated to League One. After three seasons, they were finally promoted back to the Championship in 2010 but have never managed to challenge convincingly for promotion to the Premier League.
The final year before he sold to GFH was marked by supporter dissatisfaction and several unhappy episodes, including the club and Bates himself expensively losing a court case brought for harassment by a former director, Melvyn Levi, after statements made on the club radio station.
GFH told the Guardian in February it faced "a cashflow shortfall" after taking over, due to Bates's decisions to spend £13m on a restaurant and east stand refurbishment, widely resented by fans. Two years' worth of season ticket money were partly mortgaged to pay for it, the Elland Road catering was sold for cash up front, and a £1.5m loan taken out with the club sponsor. GFH said it had put significant cash in to cover the shortfall, thought to be more than £8m.Nevertheless, GFH honoured the agreement to keep Bates as chairman, and, initially, as president, until ending his planned three year tenure after just one month, for reasons unexplained.
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