Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports Fashion Plc, has stepped down from his role.
The retail powerhouse announced today that Cowgill has stepped down, effective immediately. Also, JD Sports announced Helen Ashton, the current non-executive director and chair of the audit and risk committee, will become interim non-executive chair. And Kath Smith, currently the non-executive director and senior independent director, will become interim CEO.
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According to JD Sports, the moves were made “as a consequence of an ongoing review of its internal governance and controls” that ultimately led to its decision to “accelerate the separation of the roles of chair and chief executive officer.”
“The business has developed strongly under Peter’s leadership into a world-leading multichannel retailer with a proven strategy and clear momentum. However, as our business has become bigger and more complex, what is clear is that our internal infrastructure, governance and controls have not developed at the same pace. As we capitalize on the great opportunities ahead of us, the board is committed to ensuring that we have the highest standards of corporate governance and controls appropriate to a FTSE-100 company to support future growth,” Ashton said in a statement.
JD Sports Fashion Plc said the process to recruit a CEO remains ongoing, and that there will now be a process to recruit a new non-executive chair.
Helen, who joined the JD board in November 2021, has held executive-level roles at ASOS, Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays. Smith has more than 25 years of athletic and outdoor industry experience, including stints at Adidas, Reebok and The North Face.