There's been a shake-up at Sports Direct - so who's who at the top of the discount retailer now?

Caitlin Morrison
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General Views of Sports Direct Shops
It's all change at Sports Direct (Source: Getty)

Sports Direct's senior management team has been given a serious overhaul, with this morning's announcement that chief executive Dave Forsey has resigned - to be replaced by the group's founder, Mike Ashley.

As well as Forsey's departure, which took place with immediate effect, the retailer announced two senior promotions this morning. Karen Byers has been appointed global head of operations, and Sean Nevitt has been named global head of commercial. We've taken a look at who's holding the top spots at the retailer now.

Who's who at the top of Sports Direct

Mike Ashley

Sports Direct Founder Faces Commons Select Committee Over Working Conditions
(Source: Getty)

He needs little introduction - Ashley has been hitting the headlines for some time now, although in the past he was reluctant to open up about the company he founded in 1982. His appointment as chief executive may come as some surprise to those following the retailer's fortunes in recent months, as shareholders were last month advised to vote against re-electing Mike Ashley to the Sports Direct board. Meanwhile, the Newcastle United owner has previously admitted to being unable to control Sports Direct - and earlier this week Ashley told the BBC: "You would be surprised how little I knew what was going on (at Sports Direct)." Other things we've learned about the new boss include the fact that he travels to work by helicopter, and he's definitely not Father Christmas.

Read more: Here's everything that's happened at Sports Direct over the past year

Karen Byers

Byers, who was previously head of retail, has kept a low profile during her 24 years with Sports Direct, however in an interview with the Times earlier this year, Ashley said she "runs Sports Direct". He added: "She is the person who sets the rules. Not me. She is not on the board because we won’t waste her time." The 48-year-old worked at River Island before reportedly impressing Ashley into giving her a job by selling him a pair of jeans.

Sean Nevitt

Nevitt, 46, was previously head of buying at Sports Direct. He joined the group in 1987, and along with Karen Byers, among other directors, landed a £5m payout when the company floated in 2007.

Keith Hellawell

Britain's first 'drugs czar', West Yorkshire Chief
Hellawell is pictured to the right (Source: Getty)

Keith Hellawell has had a long and varied career, having started out his working days as a coal miner. He then joined the police, rising to the position of chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, after which he became the UK government's 'drug czar' - a role he quit after cannabis was reclassified from a Class B to a Class C substance. Hellawell has been chairman of Sports Direct since 2009 - but his position is looking a bit shaky since investors voted to oust him at the recent AGM. However, Hellawell is determined to win them back around, so he's staying until next year's meeting - if they vote against his appointment then, he said, he will leave. The prospect of dealing with a majority of shareholders who want him out of a job doesn't daunt Hellawell, he told City A.M., due to his past work "dealing with child murderers and serial killers".

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