The Sports Direct boss, Mike Ashley, is attempting a coup at Debenhams by calling a general shareholder meeting to appoint himself to the board in an executive role and oust nearly all other directors.
In a dramatic stock market announcement filed late on Thursday, Ashley pledged that, if appointed to the board of the ailing department store, he would step down from his role as chief executive of Sports Direct, in which he holds a majority stake. Sports Direct owns nearly 30% of Debenhams.
It said he wanted to seize control of Debenhams “during this business critical period” and all directors would be ousted except for the department store’s finance director, Rachel Osborne.
The statement said if successful in his bid to get on the Debenhams board, he would be succeeded at Sports Direct by Chris Wootton, currently its deputy chief financial officer.
More to follow …