Sports Direct chief executive quits

Sports Direct in Shirebrook.

Sports Direct in Shirebrook.

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The chief executive of embattled Sports Direct has stood down in a move described by company owner and founder Mike Ashley as like “losing his right arm”,

In a statement today, Shirebrook-based Sports Direct said: “The board of Sports Direct announces Dave Forsey resigned yesterday, Thursday, September 22, as chief executive and as a director of the company.

Mike Ashley, of Sports Direct, outside the company's Shirebrook headquarters at the 2016 annual general meeting.

Mike Ashley, of Sports Direct, outside the company's Shirebrook headquarters at the 2016 annual general meeting.

“The board has appointed Mr Ashley as chief executive with immediate effect.

“Mr Ashley will continue to be supported by the existing executive management team and Mr Forsey has agreed to facilitate a smooth handover of his responsibilities.

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Mr Forsey said: “I have given my entire working life to the company and in return the company has given me amazing opportunities and experiences. I wish everyone at Sports Direct well in the future.”.

Keith Hellawell, company chairman, said: “I would like to thank Dave for his significant contribution over the last 32 years and during a period of significant growth and change at the company.

“On behalf of all the people at Sports Direct I wish him well in his future endeavours.”

Mr Ashley said: “I feel like I have lost my right arm, but I do hope to have the opportunity to work with Dave again in the future.”

In addition, the firm announced that Karen Byers has been promoted to the role of global head of operations, and Sean Nevitt has been promoted to the role of global head of commercial.

Mr Forsey’s resignation comes less than three weeks after angry shareholders hit out at the firm over its working practices at its annual general meeting, including paying staff less than the legal, minimum wage and a controversial ‘six strikes and out’ policy for minor misdemeanor.

The Chad first exposed the dire conditions at the Shirebrook warehouse two years ago, after a migrant worker gave birth in the company toilets on New Year’s Day because she was too scared of losing her job to ask to go home.

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