Mike Ashley is expected not to face the investors at the Annual General Meeting of Sports Direct this year. He said it is because of the “overriding demands on his time.”
In an announcement this afternoon, Sports Direct revealed that Keith Hellawell, the chairman of the company, will chair the meeting that is scheduled on the 12th of September as planned. However, the founder and chief executive of the company will not be present.
The acquisition of Mike Ashley of the House of Fraser at the start of the month has put a lot on the plate of the tycoon as he attempts to turn it into the “Harrods of the high street.”
During the past few weeks, Sports Direct has criticised the “greedy” landlords of the House of Fraser and has already placed orders with its suppliers. Reportedly, Ashley turned up in person in order to negotiate the reopening of two warehouses, even though both have now been closed again according to Drapers.
After Sports Direct has increased the stakes in the talks with the store owners of House of Fraser, it warned that it would be the fault of “greedy landlords” if retail jobs were lost as an outcome of impending store closures.
The sportswear retailer acquired the stricken department store chain for £90 million. It is yet to finalise how many of thge chain’s 59 stores will be shut down.
Ashley has faced a difficult time with the investors at the company’s previous AGMs, when he has faced efforts to remove his chairman and uncomfortable questions regarding the working conditions and his stakes in other firms.
The dissatisfaction of shareholders with Ashley dates back to many years ago. However, since he is the owner of the majority of the shares in the firm, he has been able to maintain control of major decisions, provoking calls for better governance at the company.