Peter Cowgill steps down as chair of JD Sports
JD Sports has announced that Peter Cowgill has stepped down as executive chairman following a decision to accelerate the separation of the roles of chair and chief executive within the business.
Cowgill has been in charge of JD without a chief executive since Barry Bown left in 2014. According to reports, it is understood that he has resisted the board’s attempts to split the roles.
The company has already been looking to appoint a chief executive and will now begin a process to recruit a new non-executive chair.
In the meantime, JD non-executive director Kath Smith will become interim chief executive. Smith has considerable sports and outdoor category experience after working with Adidas and The North Face earlier in her career.
In a further move, Helen Ashton, who is currently non-executive and chair of the audit and risk committee, will become interim non-executive chair. Ashton was appointed to JD’s board last November and has held a wide range of executive level roles including at ASOS, Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays.
Ashton said: “The business has developed strongly under Peter’s leadership into a world-leading multichannel retailer with a proven strategy and clear momentum. However, as our business has become bigger and more complex, what is clear is that our internal infrastructure, governance and controls have not developed at the same pace.
“As we capitalise on the great opportunities ahead of us, the board is committed to ensuring that we have the highest standards of corporate governance and controls appropriate to a FTSE-100 company to support future growth.”