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Minutes before Sports Direct AGM Mike Ashley tries to dilute criticism with resignations

7 months ago
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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.’

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