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Published
Jun 1, 2021
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JD Sports denies speculation that top exec will step back

Published
Jun 1, 2021

JD Sports has denied increasing speculation that its executive chairman and CEO Peter Cowgill is to step back from direct control of the business and that a new CEO is being sought.


Photo: Sandra Halliday


There have been reports for several weeks around Cowgill’s future but specifically at the weekend, The Times reported the company saying it had undertaken “additional succession planning throughout the financial year following concerns relating to the single appointment of the executive chairman”.

Good corporate governance in the UK usually means that the chairman and CEO roles are kept separate, although they’re frequently combined in the US.

But on Tuesday, the company said that it “can confirm to both investors and to its international brand partners that the board is not engaged in a process to recruit a Chief Executive Officer or Chairman. JD can also confirm that it is continually reviewing the depth of its management team to ensure that the senior operational leadership team in the business has the necessary skills and experience to exploit the ongoing global development opportunities”.

It’s no surprise that the firm has responded quickly to the stories given the importance of the chairman/CEO to the business. Cowgill has led JD Sports for many years, with his tenure seeing it transformed from just another sports retailer to one of the leading names globally.

It currently owns chains globally and is a major seller of key sports brands such as Nike and Adidas.

It also seems to have been one of the winners from the pandemic having seen strong sales during what has been a difficult – and even devastating – period for many of its retail peers.

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