JD Sports chairman Peter Cowgill in line for £6m bonus

JD Sports chairman
// JD Sports lines up £6m bonus payout for executive chairman Peter Cowgill
// Remuneration committee says Cowgill did not receive any bonus for the past two years
// Cowgill has also not received pension contribution payments since 2013

JD Sports executive chairman Peter Cowgill is set to receive a £6 million bonus to reflect his “exceptional performance” and to compensate for a lack of pension contributions.

In its annual report published today, JD Sports’ remuneration committee said Cowgill’s bonus would be paid in four equal instalments of £1.5 million in October and February, then again in October next year and February 2021.

The committee justified the bonus because Cowgill – who has led the sportswear retailer since 2014 – has not received any long-term award under an existing long-term incentive plan in the past two financial years.

The committee also said there were no plans for Cowgill to receive “any awards under the executive long-term incentive plan for the forthcoming financial year or in the future”, and that he not received pension contribution payments since 2013.

JD Sports’ 10-year long-term incentive plan, adopted in 2014, pays bonuses sporadically and in cash instead of shares.

“The payment is, therefore, being recommended in part to compensate the executive chairman for [no pension contributions] and in part to recognise the exceptional performance,” the committee said in the annual report.

JD Sports said it would seek shareholder approval for Cowgill’s bonus payout at its AGM on July 3.

Whether it would be approved remains uncertain, after 15 per cent of shareholders voted against its remuneration report last year when advisers from Pirc raised concerns.

Meanwhile in 2017, more than 20 per cent of shareholders voted against it.

According to the Financial Times, Pirc is expected to issue an opinion on this year’s annual report closer to the date of the AGM.

The news comes after JD Sports’ shares grew more than 6000 per cent since Cowgill was appointed executive chairman in March 2004.

In the past year alone they’ve surged by more than 60 per cent there is speculation that JD Sports would join the coveted FTSE 100 at the next reshuffle.

JD Sports recently bought Liam Gallagher’s Pretty Green out of administration and it is on the verge of finalising a takeover of smaller competitor Footasylum, pending an investigation from CMA.

In recent years, it has embarked on international expansion with store openings in Australia and the acquisition of US sportswear retailer Finish Line.

JD Sports is also the owner of the Tessutti, Blacks and Go Outdoors retail chains.

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