// Peter Cowgill might step aside as executive chairman of JD Sports to make way for a CEO, but will stay as non-exec chairman
// He has been JD Sports’ boss since 2004
Speculation has arisen that JD Sports executive chairman Peter Cowgill is reportedly looking at relinquishing his responsibilities after 17 years at the helm of the retailer.
According to The Sunday Times, JD Sports’ board is reportedly planning to appoint a chief executive at some point this year to work alongside Cowgill.
The move would then see him eventually relinquish control of day-to-day operations of the retailer and move into a non-executive chairman role.
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However, Cowgill himself told The Sunday Times that he was “not anywhere fast”, and that as a “substantial shareholder” he had “every intention” of ensuring the long-term success of JD Sports.
Despite this, The Sunday Times also reported that Cowgill wants the next leader of the business to be selected from within its Bury headquarters.
The speculation comes just days after Andy Rubin stepped down as non-executive director at JD Sports – a role he had been in for five years.
He will be replaced by Andy Long, the former chief executive and current executive director at Pentland Group – which has a 51.9 per cent stake in JD Sports.
Cowgill has been executive chairman of JD Sports since 2004.
He had initially joined in 1996 as chief financial officer around the time of its stock market float, but left in 2000 before re-joining four years later as boss.
Under Cowgill’s leadership, JD Sports expanded dramatically in the UK and abroad, and is now a FTSE 100-listed retail giant worth £9.5 billion with 2400 shops in 19 markets.
Aside from the flagship high street chain of the same name, the firm also owns Tessuti, Size?, Finish Line (in the US), Blacks, Go Outdoors, and several others.
JD Sports is also currently in a battle with the CMA to acquire rival chain Footasylum.
The CMA has blocked the £90 million takeover before it was overturned by the Competition Appeal Tribunal last November, forcing it to under a full reconsideration of the deal.