The Sports Direct AGM took place earlier today.
Blink and you would have missed it.
From start to finish the AGM in London lasted only around 15 minutes.
The headlines are almost exclusively about what happened before the meeting.
Firstly, Sports Direct (Mike Ashley) released an official statement shortly before the AGM kicked off, revealing that two of Ashley’s people were resigning from the board.
The statement also making public that Sports Direct had elected a female director to the board.
These were clearly designed to shift the focus and convince some that Mike Ashley and Sports Direct actually care about what outsiders think, though of course a falling share price and problems dealing with constant negative publicity have clearly impacted on the company.
Newcastle fans have protested long and hard against Mike Ashley and some were there today having purchased SD shares to enable them to attend the AGM.
At Newcastle United, Mike Ashley doesn’t even bother appointing a proper board or top executive team to run NUFC, Lee Charnley the only board member and the only executive (supposedly) running the club, though everybody just assumes it is the likes of Justin Barnes and Keith Bishop who control things at St James Park on Ashley’s behalf.
The Newcastle fans and other Sports Direct shareholders need not have bothered, the 15 minute rushed AGM saw Mike Ashley’s people refuse to allow any questions from those present.
The other surprise pre-AGM, was Mike Ashley actually turning up, the controlling shareholder and Chief Executive having previously said he was too bust to attend his own company’s AGM.
So Ashley DID turn up for the SD Agm. He’s here, 36 Poland St London W1 and will have to leave the building at some point. Wearing those jeans as well. @TheMagpieGroup_ @IfRafaGoesWeGo @AshleyOutdotcom pic.twitter.com/KB80O9EIlq
— Paul White Photo (@PaulWhitePhoto) September 12, 2018
Ashley clearly holds everybody in contempt, so Newcastle fans shouldn’t feel especially picked out.
However, it is an absolute disgrace that in both the football and retail worlds, he is allowed to continue and treat people in such a way, having such contempt for any suggestion of doing things in a fit and proper way.
The Mag – Earlier today (Wednesday 12 September 2018):
The pressure looks to be getting to Mike Ashley.
The owner of Newcastle United and controlling shareholder at Sports Direct, has been getting criticism from all sides due to the way he runs his empire.
It is the Sports Direct AGM at 11am today but Mike Ashley has refused to attend and answer any awkward questions.
However, only minutes before that AGM is due to kick off, he has shown his ruthless side.
Having previously refused to bow to pressure to get rid of close allies who have also been targeted for the failings of Sports Direct, we have now seen a sudden desperate wind change.
Mike Ashley has sacrificed his chairman Keith Hellawell and Non-Executive Director Simon Bentley, Sports Direct releasing a statement revealing their ‘resignations’ this morning.
In an obvious move to take the wind out of the sails of angry shareholders, Ashley has made these concessions.
Amongst the other (numerous) criticisms of the company, the lack of women in top positions has been regularly pointed out.
Mike Ashley this morning confirming that Nicola Frampton will join the board as from 1 October 2018.
Newcastle fans are set to protest inside and outside the Sports Direct AGM, those inside having bought a nominal amount of shares so they can attend and attempt to ask awkward questions.
Sports Direct Official Statement – 12 September 2018:
The Company wishes to announce the following changes to the Board.
Dr Keith Hellawell, QPM, has today informed the Board of his decision to step down as Chairman and as a director of the Company, having served since November 2009. Dr Hellawell will retire with effect from the conclusion of today’s AGM, and will therefore not be seeking re-election. David Daly, Non-Executive Director, will take up the role of Chairman at the conclusion of the AGM. He will also take on the role of Chair of the Nomination Committee.
Senior Independent Non-Executive Director Simon Bentley has also today decided to retire as a director of the Company, having served on the Board since 2007. He will retire with effect from the conclusion of today’s AGM, and will therefore not be seeking re-election.
Furthermore, Nicola Frampton is to join the Board as Non-Executive Director with effect from 1 October 2018, and Cally Price has been elected by the workforce as the next Workers’ Representative to the Board from May 2019.
Chief Executive Mike Ashley said: ‘I would like to thank Keith and Simon for their valuable service and significant contributions to the Company over the years. Meanwhile, we are delighted to welcome Nicola and Cally to the boardroom, and look forward to David Daly taking up the role of Chairman.’