Mike Ashley's Sports Direct hires Matt Pearson as new finance boss after 18 months... but he's only "acting"

Catherine Neilan
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Mike Ashley has finally found a new finance boss... sort of (Source: Getty)
It's taken 18 months and some serious shareholder pressure, but Sports Direct has finally appointed a new finance boss... although only on an interim basis.
The Mike Ashley-owned retailer has today promoted Matt Pearson to the role of acting chief financial officer with immediate effect. He also joins the board.
Pearson was group financial controller, having originally joined the business from EY as group financial accountant in 2007.
Chairman Keith Hellawell said: “After a thorough process and following soundings from leading institutions I am delighted that Matt has been appointed acting chief financial officer and is to join the board.”
Hellawell added that Pearson was “perfectly placed to take on the additional responsibilities of this role on an interim basis".
It's not quite clear why, 18 months after finance director Bob Mellors stepped down, the company has only made an interim appointment, but after Hellawell was grilled by MPs over Sports Direct's “back street” supplier tactics, and its handling of USC's administration, it may be one way of reassuring investors about senior management.
Previously investors including Crispin Odey have noted that the lack of a CFO put “too much power in one person's hands”.
There have also been raised eyebrows (and falling share prices) at Ashley's apparent use of Sports Direct as an investment vehicle, buying stakes in Debenhams and Tesco.

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