JD Sports investor questions chairman pay rise

An influential JD Sports investor group has hit out at executive chairman Peter Cowgill’s pay boost, saying it is “not in line with the rest of the company”. 



Investors from Pensions and Investment Research Consultants  (Pirc) urged shareholders in a note this week to reject the company’s pay package after a remuneration report revealed a 10.5% increase in Cowgill’s salary, compared to a head office average of 4.4%.

More than a fifth of investors voted against the remuneration report when it was presented at last year’s annual general meeting, reported City AM.

“There is no evidence that the company engaged with shareholders in relation to the significant opposition, nor is there any evidence that concerns behind the opposition have been addressed”, Pirc said in the note.

The company has enjoyed strong growth in recent years, with profits rising by almost 25% to a record £307.4 million in the year to February 2018. Since then, JD Sports has expanded its operations in the US with the acquisition of footwear retailer Finish Line.

Ahead of the annual general meeting on Thursday, Pirc is calling on shareholders to reject the firm’s annual report and oppose Cowgill’s re-election, saying his concentration of power is “potentially detrimental to board balance, effective debate, and board appraisal”.

Peter Cowgill has been executive chairman of JD Sports since 2004 and is also chairman of the nomination committee. The company has been without a CEO since Barry Brown left in 2014.

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