Nov 28, 2022
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JD Sports revises directors' pay policy to avert shareholder revolt

Nov 28, 2022

JD Sports Fashion has moved to give its tarnished executive pay policy a clean bill of health, with the UK-based retail giant hoping to make related shareholder revolts a thing of the past.

JD Sports has now published a revised directors' remuneration policy together with a new ‘Long Term Incentive Plan’ and ‘Deferred Bonus Plan’. They will be voted on at a general meeting on 13 December.

It was criticised by investors in July after it was revealed former boss Peter Cowgill had been paid almost £6 million in bonuses since February 2021. The awards were made despite the listed group receiving over £100 million in government support during the Covid-19 pandemic. That included £86 million in furlough payments for staff and an estimated £38 millio in business rates relief in 2021.

Remuneration Committee chair Andrew Leslie was then replaced by Suzi Williams in September after 11 years on the board after he failed to win enough votes from independent shareholders for re-election at the company’s annual meeting in July, reported The BusinessDesk.

At the time, JD Sports acknowledged "the lower levels of support" for its remuneration report, which set out what executives were to be paid for 2020.

In the new JD Sports statement, issued to the London Stock Exchange, it said: “Following the appointment of Suzi Williams as Remuneration Committee chair in September 2022, the company initiated a thorough review of its remuneration policy.

“We consulted with a wide range of investors to understand why the company's remuneration policy and reports had consistently not gained desired institutional support over a number of years”.

It added: “Reflecting on the feedback received, the committee have been considering the structure of a revised policy that brings the company in line with FTSE 100 best practice with a greater emphasis on share-based remuneration”.

“The company is grateful for the time and effort spent by shareholders in engaging with the company and is keen to continue open and honest communication with our investors in future”.

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