Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley is facing a growing revolt and Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) is reportedly advising investors to oppose his re-election to the retailer's board.
City A.M. revealed today that fellow shareholder advisory groups Glass Lewis and ShareSoc were backing a shake-up at Sports Direct, with the former calling on investors to vote against Ashley's re-election.
And now ISS has reportedly followed suit by flagging “serious operational, governance and risk oversight concerns which have come to the fore”.
According to Sky News, ISS is telling investors to vote against roles for both Ashley as executive deputy chairman and the firm's chairman Keith Hellawell.
The influential Pensions and Investment Research Consultants have also told shareholders to block Ashley's re-election, while Investor Forum, which represents 27 per cent of the retailer's shareholders, has also publicly aired concerns.
Ashley owns 55 per cent of the retailer, and is therefore unlikely to be removed, but it is a fresh embarrassment for the Newcastle United owner, who was hauled before parliament in June, with MPs likening working practices at one Sports Direct site to those at a “Victorian workhouse”.
Legal & General Investment Management has voted against the re-election of Hellawell for the last two years, and has also confirmed it will do so again.
Sports Direct will hold its annual general meeting on September 7
ISS and Sports Direct could not be reached for comment.