Sports Direct shareholders to vote on clothes retailer's bonus scheme

Company founder and Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley could benefit from latest incentive scheme at sports clothes retailer

Peter Byrne/PA Wire A Sports Direct shop
A Sports Direct shop

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley could be given another chance to benefit from the company’s share incentive scheme.

The Newcastle United owner will be eligible for participation in the sports clothes retailer’s 2015 Bonus Share Scheme.

Ashley has received no remuneration since Sports Direct’s initial public offering in February 2007, and has not benefited from the 2011 Executive Bonus Share Scheme, under which awards have been made to other executive directors.

Earlier this year, he was in line for a supplemental shares payout potentially worth £73m.

However, despite securing support from some of the company’s largest shareholders, the resolution was withdrawn after failing to attract the necessary support.

A meeting aimed at securing shareholder approval for the 2015 scheme will be held on July 2, but Ashley and the other executive directors at the firm have informed the board they will not exercise their right to vote.

Sports Direct chairman Keith Hellawell said: “Sports Direct’s Employee Bonus Share Scheme is one of the most wide-reaching and successful employee reward schemes in the UK.

“The success of the scheme is demonstrated by the shareholder value created, with the share price reaching an all-time high in April this year and currently six times higher than when shareholders approved the 2009 Employee Bonus Share Scheme.

“The Board and the Remuneration Committee have responded to the feedback received from shareholders to develop a long-term share incentive scheme which not only will continue to motivate the company’s employees but which also recognises and rewards the substantial contribution made by Mike Ashley over many years.

“Based on the stretching performance targets established, this scheme has the potential to create a further substantial increase in shareholder value.”

Sports Direct will announce its preliminary results for the financial year on July 17.

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