Mike Ashley doesn’t care what anybody says.
The Newcastle United owner and Sports Direct controlling shareholder & Chief Executive, simply does what he wants.
If he doesn’t want he, or his minions, to face up to tough questions, he will just cancel meetings, or failing that just not turn up himself and let others face the flak.
This being the case at both Newcastle United and Sports Direct.
On Tuesday the Newcastle United Fans Forum was scheduled to meet, even though the meetings and minutes are all controlled by the club and the fans present selected by Ashley’s people and not elected, it was cancelled with only 24 hours notice because Lee Charnley supposedly had just found out he was ‘unavailable’, this despite the meeting being arranged over four months ago.
Not one Newcastle fan seriously believes the Charnley unavailable story, instead it is abundantly clear that Mike Ashley and his people were scared to face questions from the fans.
As for Sports Direct, the latest news is even more laughable.
The Sports Direct AGM is the one real chance when shareholders can question those running the show.
Their AGM is on 12 September 2018 and Mike Ashley is the Chief Executive, founder of the company, owns around two thirds of the shares and what he says goes.
However, Sports Direct have now released a statement saying Mike Ashley will not be at the AGM because of ‘overriding demands on his time’, quite unbelievable.
The AGM is being held in London and the person who controls the whole company is too busy to attend and answer any questions/concerns from shareholders.
There have been reports of Newcastle fans recently buying nominal amounts of shares so that they can attend this Sports Direct AGM. It may seem a little fanciful to suggest that this could be a reason for Mike Ashley running scared from attending his own company’s AGM but who knows in the cavalier ignorant way he runs his empire.
The news of Ashley’ hiding from the SD shareholders comes on the back of Sports Direct having been named the least reputable retailer in the UK. The Reputation Institute said Sports Direct scored poorly on four counts, which are workplace, governance, citizenship and leadership.
At the other end of the scale, the three at the top for best reputation were Amazon, Boots and John Lewis.
At previous Sports Direct AGMS, Mike Ashley has been given a hard time by shareholders, not liking the questions asked of him and having to fight off attempts by shareholders to get rid of people he has in place from his inner circle to run things and take the flak for him, such as Chairman Keith Hellawell. Interesting to see what happens in Ashley’s absence on 12 September.