Sports Direct asks Keith Hellawell to stay as chair

Sports Direct has said Keith Hellawell will continue as chairman despite having offered to quit, as the firm also warned that annual earnings will plummet following a turbulent year.

Keith Hellawell offered to resign as Sports Direct chairman. Picture: Phil Noble/PA

The embattled retailer said that, despite several investors calling for Hellawell to go, the Sports Direct board, including majority shareholder Mike Ashley, have asked him to stay in his role.

The former West Yorkshire Police chief constable has faced a barrage of criticism from shareholder groups as the firm has come under scrutiny over claims of “Victorian” working practices and poor corporate governance.

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“Dr Hellawell had offered to step down over the weekend in the light of the shortcomings highlighted in the report, but he will stay in his role in order to assist with making further improvements,” Sports Direct said.

To compound matters, the retailer said earnings are expected to come in at £300 million for the year, down from a previous estimate of “between £380m and £420m”.