Friday 6 December 2019

Sports boss refuses bonus

Shares

Sports Direct's billionaire founder Mike Ashley won't take up any shares that were due to be awarded to him in a widely criticised bonus plan that was given the go-ahead by investors this month.

After discussion with the company's remuneration committee, Mr Ashley informed the board he "does not wish to be awarded any shares", the UK's biggest sporting-goods retailer said.

The company's deputy chairman does not expect any other share-based incentive plan to be proposed in relation to his role, it added.

Sports Direct has received opprobrium about its pay plans for 49-year-old Mr Ashley, who owns a 58pc stake in the retailer yet has never received a salary. The proposed bonus, the potential size of which the company has declined to disclose, was supported by 60.4pc of shareholders on July 2. It was described as "excessively generous" by the UK Institute of Directors at the time.

"Regarding the allocation of shares, Mike's focus is on ensuring that the scheme aligns all employees to achieve the company's objectives," Keith Hellawell, the company's non- executive chairman, said.

"Following recent unhelpful speculation surrounding his potential allocation, he is determined to ensure that there is the maximum number of shares available for the eligible employees."

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