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Mike Ashley withdraws from Sports Direct bonus scheme

Mike Ashley has withdrawn from Sports Direct’s 2015 bonus share scheme, to ensure there is the “maximum number of shares available for the eligible employees”.

The shock announcement on the stock exchange this morning comes after the retailer’s shareholders approved the new bonus plan on July 2, despite widespread speculation it could be rejected.

The scheme would have rewarded Ashley and an unknown number of other employees some 25 million shares worth £200m.

The decision for Ashley to now withdraw from the scheme follows discussions with the business’s remuneration committee.

Non-executive chairman Keith Hellawell said Ashley remains fully committed to achieving the scheme’s targets.

Hellawell said: “Regarding the allocation of shares, Mike’s focus is on ensuring the scheme aligns all employees to achieve the company’s objectives. Following recent unhelpful speculation surrounding his potential allocation, he is determined to ensure there is the maximum number of shares available for the eligible employees.”

Ashley said he does not expect any other share-based incentive scheme to be proposed to shareholders in relation to his role as an executive director of Sports Direct. 

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