Under-fire Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley is bracing himself for a showdown with shareholders and unions this week as he prepares to throw open the retailer’s factory doors in a bid to address concerns over corporate governance and working practices.
Ashley has faced increasing pressure from shareholder groups in the run-up to Wednesday’s annual general meeting, with calls to overhaul its board of directors and launch an immediate independent review into working conditions at its operations. The retail giant is holding an open day to coincide with the AGM to “enable the board to engage with as many people as possible in an open discussion about the business”.
However, the firm’s attempts to repair its battered image have carried little weight with investors ahead of the AGM. Several investor groups have taken the unprecedented step of speaking out on the issue of working practices and called into question the amount of power wielded by Ashley.