Belfast Telegraph

Underfire Sports Direct chairman wins re-election vote

By Ben Woods

Independent shareholders have backed Sport Direct's under-fire chairman Keith Hellawell to stay in his post, despite mounting criticism over his stewardship.

The former West Yorkshire Police chief constable and government drugs tsar saw 53.24% of shareholders vote in favour of his reappointment.

However a significant tranche - 46.76% - opposed the move to keep him on.

Senior independent director Simon Bentley also scraped a majority backing from shareholders, with 55.3% in favour of his appointment and 44.7% voting against.

Sports Direct operates 16 stores across Northern Ireland.

It comes after Royal London Asset Management, Standard Life Aberdeen and Hermes Investment Management joined a trio of shareholder advisory firms - Institutional Shareholder Services, PIRC, and Glass Lewis - who came out against Mr Hellawell's reappointment ahead of the annual general meeting.

Mr Hellawell has presided over a long list of scandals and controversies at the chain.

He had pledged to step down if he did not receive the support of a majority of independent shareholders.

Speaking during the annual meeting held at the retailer's controversial Shirebrook warehouse in Derbyshire, Mr Hellawell defended the retailer's decision not to shift temporary staff off zero-hours contracts, saying a "very large proportion" of the workforce wanted flexibility.

Belfast Telegraph

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