Sports Direct boss exits bonus share scheme

Sports Direct’s executive deputy chairman Mike Ashley has withdrawn from the retailer’s 2015 bonus share scheme despite the scheme having received approval by shareholders at its annual general meeting on 2 July.

After discussion with the employer’s remuneration committee, Ashley informed the board that he does not wish to be awarded any shares under the bonus share scheme, claiming that he wants to ensure that the maximum number of shares are available for eligible employees.

The terms of the bonus scheme provide for the grant of up to 25 million shares in the organisation to eligible employees, including executive directors.

Ashley has also informed the board and remuneration committee that, while the 2015 bonus share scheme, which relates to the financial period up to April 2019, is in place, he does not expect any other share-based incentive scheme to be proposed to shareholders in relation to his role as an executive director of Sports Direct. 

Keith Hellawell, non-executive chairman of Sports Direct, said: “The resolution passed by shareholders to implement the 2015 bonus share scheme clearly recognises the success of previous company-wide schemes, and the significant contribution from [Ashley]. 

“On behalf of the entire board, I should like to thank shareholders for the trust and confidence that they have demonstrated towards the team. [Ashley] remains fully committed to achieving the scheme’s stretch targets.

“Regarding the allocation of shares, [Ashley’s] focus is on ensuring that the scheme aligns all employees to achieve the organisation’s objectives.

“Following recent unhelpful speculation surrounding his potential allocation, he is determined to ensure that there is the maximum number of shares available for the eligible employees.”