Blacks chairman steps down

THE chairman of struggling outdoor goods retailer Blacks Leisure has quit a week after the firm’s largest investor, Sports Direct, voted against his reappointment at the annual shareholders’ meeting.

Blacks Leisure, which runs the Blacks and Millets chains, said yesterday that David Bernstein (pictured), who is also chairman of England’s Football Association, had resigned as chairman and as a director of the company with immediate effect. His departure comes just three days after Julia Reynolds started as Blacks’ chief executive, succeeding Neil Gillis.

This month Blacks, which struck a rescue deal with creditors in 2009 that saw it close more than 100 stores, said sales had missed forecasts, driving up debts and forcing it to look at raising capital.

At its annual general meeting on 27 July, Bernstein, who had chaired Blacks since 2001, received more than 78 per cent of proxy votes in favour of his reappointment. But Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley voted his firm’s 21 per cent holding against Bernstein.