Another key ally to Mike Ashley leaves Sports Direct

Sports Direct Mike Ashley
// Sports Direct company secretary Cameron Olsen, a key ally for Mike Ashley, resigned on Monday
// Olsen worked for Sports Direct for 15 years
// Another key ally, retail chief Karen Byers, announced her resignation earlier this week

Mike Ashley has lost a second senior executive from his Sports Direct retail empire in the space of a week.

According to documents filed with Companies House, Sports Direct company secretary Cameron Olsen resigned on Monday.

His resignation came on the same day retail chief Karen Byers, whom Ashley has described as “running Sports Direct”, also quit after working for the retail tycoon for 28 years.

Olsen had worked for Ashley for 15 years, including during Sports Direct’s listing on the stock market in 2007.

“For personal reasons, Cameron has decided to return home to Australia after a great tenure here at Sports Direct,” a Sports Direct spokesperson said.

“Naturally we are saddened he is leaving but he goes with our very best wishes for the future.”

Olsen was made company secretary in 2013 at the height of the zero hours contract scandal, when it was first revealed that Sports Direct used the controversial contracts for the vast majority of its staff.

Olsen was also in charge of fending off calls from independent shareholders who questioned the company’s poor governance record.

He was also responsible for appointing legal experts to carry out an investigation into workplace practices at Sports Direct’s Shirebrook warehouse in 2016, after a Guardian investigation and MPs said staff were working in “Victorian workhouse” conditions.

During the scandal, Ashley admitted to MPs that staff in the warehouse were earning less than the minimum wage due to long queues at security checkpoints.

Olsen had previously worked as legal counsel to Sports Direct and was head of legal when he resigned.

Sports Direct confirmed he has been replaced by Tom Piper, who has been with the firm since February 2017, as the new head of legal.

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