Sports Direct's Mike Ashley withdraws from 2015 share bonus scheme
Sports Direct has announced that its founder Mike Ashley has withdrawn from the company¬ís controversial 2015 share bonus scheme.
The move comes despite the bonus plan, thought to be worth an estimated £200 million in Sports Direct shares, being voted through by shareholders earlier this month after a two-year battle with the board.
The four-year plan, which has been criticised by the Institute of Directors, involves granting 25 million shares to the sportswear retailer’s 3,000 permanent employees including Ashley.
In a statement issued today, Sports Direct said Ashley had confirmed that he did not wish to participate in the scheme following a discussion with the company 's remuneration committee.
Ashley also said that while the 2015 Bonus Share Scheme is in place - which relates to the financial period up to April 2019 - he does not expect any other share based incentive scheme to be proposed to shareholders in relation to his role as an executive director of Sports Direct.
Sports Direct non-executive chairman Keith Hellawell said Ashley wanted to focus on ensuring that employees could benefit from the maximum number of shares available.
He said: "The resolution passed by shareholders to implement the 2015 Bonus Share Scheme clearly recognises the success of previous company-wide schemes, and the significant contribution from Mike.
“On behalf of the entire board, I should like to thank shareholders for the trust and confidence that they have demonstrated towards the team. Mike remains fully committed to achieving the scheme's stretch targets.
“Regarding the allocation of shares, Mike's focus is on ensuring that the scheme aligns all employees to achieve the company's objectives. Following recent unhelpful speculation surrounding his potential allocation, he is determined to ensure that there is the maximum number of shares available for the eligible employees."
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