A majority of Sports Direct’s independent shareholders have voted against the re-election of Dr Keith Hellawell as chairman at today’s AGM at the company’s warehouse facility in Shirebrook.
Almost 53% of independent shareholders voted against his re-election, while 36% voted against the re-election of senior independent non-executive director and chairman of the audit committee Simon Bentley, 35% against non-executive director and chairman of the remuneration committee Dave Singleton and 34% against non-executive director Claire Jenkins.
In accordance with UKLA listing rules, the resolution to re-elect Hellawell will be put to all shareholders of the company at a general meeting held within 90 to 120 days from today’s date. That vote will include executive deputy chairman Mike Ashley’s shares.
Hellawell will remain in his role until the date of that general meeting.
“I take this clear message from our independent shareholders seriously, and I will do my best to address their concerns and earn their confidence over the next year,” he said.
“I have confirmed today that should I not receive the support of a majority of our independent shareholders at next year’s AGM, I will step down at that time with immediate effect.”
Following the news Claire Jenkins, non-executive director at Sports Direct said: “I’m proud of this organisation and we’ve all been given a kick in the stomach.”
Simon Bentley, senior independent director for the group added: “If shareholders vote a certain way we need to pay attention. We need to listen and take proper notice. Next time around, following changes, it will hopefully they will all be in support [of Hellawell].”
Dave Singleton, non-executive director at Sports Direct said: “I’m determined to put episode behind us but we take notice of what shareholders say. We have to put it right asap.”