SOUTHEND United have appointed Tom Lawrence as their new chief executive.

Lawrence, who is a Shrimpers supporter, has been CEO of Gillingham for the past two years.

And the 42-year-old is now looking forward to working at Roots Hall.

“I’m delighted to have joined the club that I have supported since I was a child,” said Lawrence.

“Following the disappointment of last season, there is now a swell of positivity building at the club - the future is bright.

“With supporters back in the stadium next season and a blueprint for success in place, the return to League football is our first target.

“A target that I believe can be achieved at the first time of asking.”

Lawrence has been involved in the running of businesses for approaching 10 years and is a partner in two law firms.

And he has also been encouraged by his discussions with the club’s staff.

“My initial conversations with Phil (Brown) and Ricky (Duncan) have been very positive and I am looking forward to working with them, together with Rhys (Ellingham) and the commercial team, to deliver success on and off the field,” said Lawrence.

“My introduction will free Ron (Martin) up to focus on the Fossetts Farm project and that project will be game changing for us.

“This really is the start of a very exciting period for the club.

“I’d like to thank Ron for the opportunity and Stan [Collymore] for the backing he has given me.

“I can’t wait to get started!”

Blues have been without a chief executive since Steve Kavanagh left to join Millwall in 2016.