Sports Direct hires Liam Rowley to manage its stakes in rival retailers

Liam Rowley

Sports Direct has taken on former equity research analyst Liam Rowley to review its extensive portfolio of investments in rival retailers.

Rowley has been hired as head of strategic investments, and will be tasked with overseeing Sports Direct various stakes in companies like Debenhams, French Connection and Game.

The sportswear retailer has been criticised for its lack of transparency over its stake holdings, as well as its use of complex derivatives for its investments.

READ MORE: Exclusive: 77% of people think Sports Direct will never be the “Selfridges of sport”

The move is likely to be seen as a compromise to critics and concerned stake holders, who have put Mike Ashley under increasing pressure in recent months and came close to ousting chairman Keith Hellawell during the annual general meeting last month.

His appointment comes the same day as a stock market filing raising concerns over Sports Direct’s relationship with Debenhams, of which it now owns 21 per cent.

“Liam is a former equity research analyst with experience in banking and investment funds,” the retailer stated.

“He brings corporate expertise to Sports Direct, and will be conducting a thorough review of all current strategic stakes.”

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