Panthers CEO quits

Penrith Panthers Chief Executive Shane Richardson has tonight controversially quit the club, announcing plans to join the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Richardson, along with coach John Lang, turned the Panthers into a premiership winning force within just two seasons and it was expected he would stay at the club for an extended period.

Richardson has, at a number of points throughout the past 18 months, declared that he was aiming to create the most successful club in the world ? both on and off the field.

After tonight?s decision, it appears he will try to do that at South Sydney.

?I have had a great time at Penrith,? Mr Richardson said today. It?s a great club with great players and great fans. I am just moving onto another challenge.?

The Rabbitohs have confirmed Richardson?s appointment and say that current CEO David Tapp has been offered another role within the club.

Richardson?s decision to leave has been met with anger by a number of Penrith fans, who believe his loyalty has been seriously questioned.

?As a matter of fact I'm absolutely filthy with his decision. It could not have come at a worse time,? one fan said on the club?s official website.

?I respect what Richo has done for this club and I don't have a problem in the world with people following opportunities etc but I think this is very unprofessional,? another said.

It has not yet been confirmed by the Panthers when Richardson?s departure takes place. But it is not expected he will remain at the club beyond this weekend?s match with Manly.

Panthers Group CEO Roger Cowan, who according to sources was shocked at the decision by Richardson, says it is a shame to see the man who helped create a winning football team leave.

?Shane has been very good for this club ? last year?s premiership and this year?s success are just two examples of that,? Mr Cowan said.

Penrith are yet to announce Richardson?s replacement.