Shareholder group hits outs at Sports Direct's "disappointing" failure to conduct an independent governance review

Helen Cahill
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It has been a very rough year for Sports Direct (Source: Getty)

Sports Direct is under fire for its failure to find an independent organisation to conduct a review of its corporate governance.

The retailer has been pressed by shareholders to shake-up its corporate governance after a string of profit warnings and a parliamentary inquiry that concluded its Shirebrook warehouse was run like a "Victorian workhouse".

Read more: Sports Direct won't wait any longer and controversially appoints law firm

But last week Sports Direct said it would be appointing RPC, a law firm with links to chief executive Mike Ashley, to review the company's corporate governance.

Shareholder representative group Manifest said Sports Direct's decision was "disappointing".

Manifest's chief executive Sarah Wilson told City A.M.: "It is disappointing that Sports Direct has not been able to find an independent organisation to do the review.

"Time is of the essence to get these issues resolved and the priority is to get to the bottom of the problems Sports Direct has faced."

Read more: Will Sports Direct ditch some of its top brands?

The Investor Forum, a group that represents Sports Direct's largest shareholders, put forward a list over more than 20 firms that could have conducted the governance review.

Sports Direct chose two candidates from the list, but they both pulled out, leading Sports Direct to appoint RPC to do the job.

"Ultimately, we need to get ot the bottom of why the other candidates proposed by the Investor Forum did not feel they could take on the job," Wilson said.

Independent shareholders of Sports Direct recently voted to oust the company's chairman, Keith Hellawell. However, he was saved by Ashley, who has a controlling stake in the business.

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