Mike Ashley finally lands bonus after shareholder backlash

Guy Bentley
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40 per cent of shareholders opposed Mike Ashley's bonus (Source: Getty)

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley has been awarded a bonus after 60 per cent of shareholders approved plans to let Mr Ashley share in a bonus scheme of up to £200m between the retailer's employees and management.

However, 40 per cent of shareholders opposed the move, which was the company's third attempt in two years to pay its founder a share-based bonus.

Keith Hellawell, non-executive chairman of Sports Direct International, said:

On behalf of the entire board, I would like to thank our shareholders for their support and participation in this process. Sports Direct's employee bonus share scheme is one of the most wide-reaching and successful employee reward schemes in the UK. The success of the scheme is demonstrated by the substantial shareholder value created over the last five years.

Yesterday, British directors slammed Sports Direct’s plans to hand founder Mike Ashley the multimillion-pound share bonus, with the Institute of Directors criticising the company's board for “weak governance" over the pay plans.

IoD director of corporate governance Roger Barker said: “This type of pay package would be unthinkable for a senior executive who was not also the company’s major shareholder. It raises doubts about whether the board is acting as an effective independent check on Ashley’s power."

The IoD’s criticism came after Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) told its 60 member funds to oppose the scheme, saying it was inappropriate to “establish an incentive plan with a single board member in mind, especially one whose company has a 57.7 per cent holding".

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