JD Sports reaches deal with outgoing exec Cowgill
JD Sports Fashion is to pay its former executive chairman Peter Cowgill a golden farewell of £5.5 million over the next three years, albeit linked to a number of caveats.
While having his contractual notice period of 12 months from 25 May honoured, its board has reached agreement with Cowgill on two new arrangements “which it firmly believes are in the best interests of the business and its shareholders”.
The first is a binding set of new and enhanced restrictive covenants for a two-year period, replacing the very limited provisions in his18-year-old contract. These align Cowgill and the company's commercial interests, “preventing him from working for or advising any of the company's competitors, and prevent him from soliciting any of its employees”. For that he will receive £3.5 million over two years “for this valuable restriction”.
The second is a consultancy agreement for an expected period of three years for which he will be paid £2 million phased over the life of the agreement. “This agreement ensures that both [new chairman] Andy Higginson and [new CEO] Régis Schultz “receive his continuous support and assistance as they transition in their new roles, and more importantly give ongoing access to his unparalleled knowledge and experience in building JD into the successful company that it is today”.
Meanwhile, the board also said it “acknowledges the tremendous role that Peter played in leading the team that transformed the business he re-joined in 2004 into one of the world's leading retailers of sports, fashion and outdoor brands”.
It noted that JD's market capitalisation exceeded £12 billion and reported headline profit before tax and exceptional items of £947 million in the year to 29 January 2022, “both of which stand as testimony to his remarkable and successful leadership and contribution”.
Higginson added: “I am pleased that we have been able to reach this amicable and constructive way forward with Peter covering the next three years. Peter has hugely valuable experience built over 18 years which we do not want to lose and both Régis and I are delighted to be able to benefit from his considerable talent and advice.”
He added: “Having now separated the roles of Chair and CEO, recruited a new CEO who brings a strong international and digital track record, as well as locking in the knowledge and experience of Peter, JD is well positioned for a period of continued commercial outperformance underpinned by strong corporate governance.”
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