The Pensions and Investment Research Consultants (PIRC) has called on JD Sports shareholders to rebel against its pay package, especially that of executive chairman and chief executive Peter Cowgill.
During its AGM last year, one fifth of shareholders voted against JD Sports’ remuneration report, which saw Cowgill’s salary rise 10.5 per cent.
Cowgill has served as chairman since 2004, but took on chief executive duties in 2014 when Barry Brown stepped down and was not replaced.
PIRC said Cowgill’s pay rise was “not in line with the rest of the company”, especially with the average head office pay increase being 4.4 per cent.
PIRC added: “There is no evidence that the Company engaged with shareholders in relation to the significant opposition, nor is there any evidence that concerns behind the opposition have been addressed.”
Ahead of JD Sports’ next AGM to be held tomorrow, PIRC urged investors to reject the retailer’s annual report as well as the re-election of Cowgill.
“No one individual should have unfettered powers of decision as the combining the two roles in one person represents a concentration of power that is potentially detrimental to board balance, effective debate, and board appraisal,” PIRC said.
The Pentland Group, which has a 57 per cent stake in JD Sports, did not vote against the remuneration report last year.
The sportswear retailer has reaped the rewards of a surge in demand for athleisure in recent years, including record full-year profits and an expansion into Australia and the US.