FTSE 100: JD Sports shares rise after former Morrisons boss appointed chair

·2-min read
Former Morrisons boss Andrew Higginson. Shares in the FTSE 100 sports retailer rose in early trade on Friday. Photo: Reuters/Staff
Former Morrisons boss Andrew Higginson. Shares in the FTSE 100 sports retailer rose in early trade on Friday. Photo: Reuters

Shares in UK leisure fashion chain JD Sports (JD.L) rose after the company selected the former head of Morrisons Andrew Higginson as new chairperson to replace Peter Cowgill, who was ousted in May.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) sports retailer said on Friday that Higginson's tenure will be effective from Monday 11 July.

Higginson, currently senior independent director at betting firm Flutter Entertainment (FLTR.L), has been non-executive director on public limited company boards for more than 28 years.

In his former role as chair of supermarket Morrisons from January 2015 until the takeover of the business by private equity firm CD&R in November 2021, he oversaw a turnaround of the business, JD said.

He has also held senior roles at supermarket group Tesco (TSCO.L) for nearly 15 years.

JD shares, which have tumbled 44% so far this year, rose as much as 1.2% in early trade on Friday in London.

JD Sports has been attempting to overhaul its corporate governance and internal control after the departure of Cowgill in May, who served 18 years as executive chairman.

The FTSE group previously said that "a number of regulatory issues" had highlighted a need for more board-level experience and greater internal scrutiny and control in a delayed full-year earnings report.

In February, JD was fined £4.3m ($5.1m) by the Competition and Markets Authority for exchanging information with Footasylum after it emerged Cowgill held a clandestine meeting with the brand it was planning to acquire in a Bury car park.

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Higginson said: "Having closely followed JD's success over the years, I see it as an exceptional business, with a strong strategic position.

"The board has clearly been addressing its governance and risk management structure and I very much look forward to working with the board and the senior management team, including our new CEO once appointed, to bring my experience to bear and capitalise on the strength of the brands, market positions and channels to market including the global retail store network."

Britian's largest sportswear retailer said Higginson was hired following an extensive search process by the board.

Helen Ashton, interim chair of JD Sports, added: "The board was impressed with the high-quality candidates that we met throughout the recruitment process.

"Andy, however, stood out as the best candidate with his extensive board experience including as a chair and his strong track record in the international retail sector."

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