Sports Direct chairman keeps position after vote

THE Sports Direct headquarters in Shirebrook.
THE Sports Direct headquarters in Shirebrook.
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Sports Direct chairman Keith Hellawell will keep his post despite independent shareholders being urged to vote against his re-election to the Shirebrook-based firm.

Although almost 54% of independent shareholders voted against his re-appointment, Mr Hellawell was surported by chief executive Mike Ashley, who owns 55% of the company.

The total vote was 80.9% in favour.

Independent investors were urged to vote against Mr Hellawell because of a “catalogue of governance and operational failures” under his management by

advisory group, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) is urging investors vote against Mr Hellawell’s reappointment.

“As chairman, Keith Hellawell has overseen a period of serious operational, governance, and risk oversight concerns which have materially affected the company’s outlook and damaged shareholder value,” the ISS said in a report.

At the company’s September 2016 annual general meeting, more than half of the independent shareholders voted against Mr. Hellawell and he offered to resign, but was then convinced to stay.

However, new rules to empower shareholders mean Mr Hellawell was obliged to face a second vote before being confirmed in the chairman’s role.

Sports Direct was criticised by MPs last year for its treatment of workers, including paying some less than the minimum wage for shifts at its warehouse in central England.

In 2015, the Chad revealed how a worker collapsed when he was too scared to call in sick.

Readers and politicians condemned the retail giant’s alleged working conditions at the main headquarters since Mansfield worker Guntars Zarins recently took ill during a shift at the warehouse with a blood clot on his brain. His daughter, Liga, who had also worked at the huge retail operation, said her 52-year-old father feared receiving a ‘strike’ against his name if he had take time off ill.