Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has said he will not be present at its annual general meeting (AGM) next month and has cancelled an open day for journalists and investors.
According to a stock market announcement, Ashley’s “conflicting demands” for time mean he will miss the meeting.
The announcement comes at a crucial time for the retailer, which revealed nearly a 60 per cent drop in profits in July.
Last year’s AGM fanned the flames of the increasingly poor reputation the company and its leader had for corporate governance.
Its chairman Keith Hellawell was also met with a 54 per cent vote of no confidence from shareholders, only to be saved by Ashley’s majority shareholder vote.
READ MORE: Sports Direct profit plummets 58%
Hellawell is set to lead this year’s AGM and promised last year to relinquish the role if he faced another vote from minority shareholders to block his reappointment.
Ashley also drew criticism during the open day which was intended smooth over a scandal in which the company was found to be paying some workers less than minimum wage.
While staging a mock security check, Ashley pulled out a wad of £50 notes and joked he’d just been to the casino.
“The chief executive Mike Ashley recently hosted a detailed and constructive Q&A session with stakeholders in July, and due to conflicting demands for his time in other areas of the business, with the agreement of the board he will not be required to attend this year’s AGM,” today’s stock market announcement read.
“For the avoidance of doubt, our chief executive and other members of the board will continue to engage with stakeholders in accordance with the engagement statement, which is available on the company’s corporate website.”