New twist in retail chain's fortunes

Ashley back in charge as Forsey quits Sports Direct

Mike Ashley
Mike Ashley

Troubled leisure chain Sports Direct has installed billionaire founder Mike Ashley as chief executive after Dave Forsey resigned.

The company is under pressure to shake up its governance and management following criticism over its treatment of workers.

Forsey resigned from the 450-store company today and will be replaced by executive deputy chairman Ashley who is also the controlling shareholder.

He was grilled by a committee of MPs over the company’s failure to pay the minimum wage to warehouse staff and for practices which were deemed unacceptable. Mr Ashley has instigated a review of the company’s operations.

Shareholders recently called for change at the top, but their target was chairman Keith Hellawell.

Mr Forsey waived his £3.7m bonus after Sports Direct missed its earnings target of £420m but it was not clear why he is leaving the company where he has worked for 32 years.

In a statement today Mr Ashley said: “I feel like I have lost my right arm, but I do hope to have the opportunity to work with Dave again in the future.”

Mr Forsey said: “I have given my entire working life to the company and in return the company has given me amazing opportunities and experiences.”

Mr Hellawell said: “I would like to thank Dave for his significant contribution over the last 32 years and during a period of significant growth and change at the company. On behalf of all the people at Sports Direct I wish him well in his future endeavours.”

Karen Byers has been promoted to the role of global head of operations, and Sean Nevitt has been promoted to global head of commercial, both with immediate effect.

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