Sports Direct founder to stun City with move to chairman

Mike Ashley, the renegade founder of Sports Direct, is expected to name
himself as chairman of the sports retailer this week, a move that will raise
serious governance concerns.

The Sunday Times reports that Ashley, currently deputy chairman of
the group he founded and still owns a 70% stake in, will step up to chair the
group this week.

It is understood that advisers to Sports Direct see the move as a solution to
the fruitless search for a new independent chairman, which has been underway
since May when then chairman David Richardson stormed out of the company after a
face-off with the board.

The plan is then to recruit a tough, independent deputy chairman to keep
Ashley in line.

If Ashley does step up to chairman, the move will raise serious governance
concerns. The Combined Code specifies that a chairman must be independent and
that if this is not the case then investors must be consulted about diverging
from the code.

Shares in Sports Direct have fallen 70% since it floated on the public
markets and investors have never been comfortable with Ashley’s maverick
business style.

Further reading:

City blast for Sports Direct

Sports Direct’s FD enjoys mega-bonus

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