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
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