Belfast Telegraph

Sports Direct International's acting finance boss to resign

Embattled retailer Sports Direct International revealed its acting finance boss is quitting just weeks after its chief executive resigned.

The group - which saw founder and Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley step in as chief executive last month - said Matt Pearson was leaving at the end of the year to take a role with another firm.

He is being replaced on an interim basis by Herbert Monteith - an experienced and long-standing member of the finance team, according to Sports Direct.

The announcement comes after Sports Direct warned last week over a profits hit from the tumbling pound, which sparked concerns that Mr Pearson was still employed on an acting basis and that the group had not moved to appoint a permanent finance chief.

Sports Direct has been embroiled in controversy in recent months, with Mr Ashley hauled before MPs to be grilled over working conditions, the company hosting a tumultuous ''open day'' at its headquarters and its chief executive Dave Forsey quitting.

Mr Ashley, who is also Sports Direct's controlling shareholder, said: "Matt has been a valued member of the Sports Direct family for over nine years and he will be a loss to the company.

"I wish him all the best for the future and would like to thank him for his time at Sports Direct."

The group said Mr Monteith will not sit on the board in his role as head of finance and will work closely with Karen Byers, global head of operations, and Sean Nevitt, global head of commercial.

Sports Direct has seen its share price slump by nearly two thirds over a gruelling past year, which has seen it come under fire for working conditions at its Shirebrook factory and its corporate governance practices.

It has also faced a shareholder rebellion against chairman Keith Hellawell.

The stock fell again heavily on last week's profit warning.

It said full year earnings were expected to come in at £285 million, compared to the £300 million it had originally pencilled in.

The company also warned that if the pound/dollar rate is 1.20 US dollars on average for the remainder of the year, then earnings could take another £20 million hit.