LONDON: Nicola Cortese has quit as chairman of revived Southampton, raising fears that manager Mauricio Pochettino will follow him.
Pochettino was a controversial appointment a year ago but has always insisted that his tenure was dependent on Cortese staying in place.
Cortese had already considered quitting last year after a freeze in his relationship with owner Katharina Liebherr over both his contract and the entire future of the club.
Katharina is the daughter of Markus Liebherr, the former club owner who died in 2010. Although she has taken over as chair she is reported not to have any specific interest in football.
The family paid £14m for Southampton in 2009 and could expect to sell at a huge profit. Fulham was sold earlier this season for £150m
Cortese became chairman in 2009 when Southampton had just come out of administration and begun the season in League One on minus 10 points.