LONDON, July 1 British business lobby group the
Institute of Directors (IoD) has joined opposition to the latest
bonus scheme proposed by Sports Direct, saying on
Tuesday it has "significant concerns" about the retailer's
The proposed scheme from Britain's biggest sporting goods
retailer could potentially award shares worth 200 million pounds
($340 million) to Mike Ashley - the firm's founder, deputy
executive chairman, and 58 percent shareholder - as well as to
an undisclosed number of employees.
Sports Direct investors are due to vote on the proposal at a
meeting on Wednesday.
"Sports Direct is seeking to push through excessively
generous pay arrangements for Mr Ashley. The IoD is concerned
that this is suggestive of weak underlying governance at the
company," it said in a statement.
The IoD said the proposal would be unthinkable for a senior
executive who was not also the company's major shareholder.
"It raises doubts about whether the board is acting as an
effective independent check on Ashley's power," it said.
Sports Direct declined to comment.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the Local
Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) have already called on
investors to oppose the proposed scheme.
The proposal is Sports Direct's fourth attempt at rewarding
Ashley, who receives no salary or other bonus from the retailer.
Ashley founded Sports Direct in 1982 and also owns soccer
club Newcastle United.
(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Sarah Young and Pravin