SPORTS DIRECT is facing yet another boardroom shakeup as acting chief financial officer Matt Pearson is set to resign after just over a year in the role, the sports clothing retailer announced.
Pearson has informed the board of his intention to resign in order to take up a role elsewhere in the new year. The acting CFO will remain at the troubled sportswear group until the end of the year.
The retailer has named Herbert Monteith, a member of the finance team, as interim head of finance, on Pearson’s departure. This will be the company’s second temporary finance head appointment since 2014 when former CFO Bob Mellors left. It comes at a critical time for the business, which is facing fresh questions over its corporate governance and independence of its board.
Pearson, who joined the group in 2007 shortly after it went public, was group financial controller until his appointment in June 2015, 18 months after Mellors left.
The board said that the company’s trading remained in line with its 7 October statement, when the retailer said it expected pre-tax earnings to be in the region of £300m.
In August the embattled sports clothing retailer said it would hire independent advisers to “evaluate” its board later this year, after criticism over its corporate governance. It is not clear whether that independent evaluation has taken place yet.
Sports Direct has faced tumultuous time after an undercover investigation found working standards at one of its warehouse to be “Victorian”. Since the discovery CEO Mike Ashley was hauled before a cross-parliamentary committee – where he promised to change some of the more outdated working conditions forced on staff.
The retailer also recently faced a shareholder backlash despite promising change. Standard Life Investments voted against the company pay report and reappointment of all non-executive directors, arguing that founder Ashley needed to be surrounded by more independent and experienced non-executives.