The Daily Telegraph

JD Sports gives departing chief £5.5m exit package

- By Hannah Boland

JD SPORTS is handing Peter Cowgill an exit package worth £5.5m after his shock departure as executive chairman earlier this year as the sportswear retailer battled governance concerns.

The British chain said under the exit deal, Mr Cowgill will be blocked from working for, or advising, any of JD Sports’s competitor­s or from soliciting any of its employees for the next two years, for which he will be paid £3.5m.

It follows industry rumours that he could be set for a role with Footasylum.

JD Sports said it will also be paying Mr Cowgill another £2m to be kept on as a consultant for the next three years to help Andy Higginson, now JD Sports chairman, and Régis Schultz, now CEO, in their new roles.

Mr Higginson said: “We are pleased to have settled the terms of his departure and more importantl­y, to have secured a seamless handover and access to his decades of experience, whilst best protecting our commercial interests.”

Mr Cowgill is also receiving his salary, benefit and bonus through to May 25, when JD Sports announced his departure.

The exit deal comes as JD Sports looks to overhaul its culture, following a review of internal governance and controls at the business.

Mr Cowgill had helmed the business without a chief executive since 2014, acting as its executive chairman and when he stepped back this year, the company said that its “internal infrastruc­ture, governance and controls have not developed at the same pace” as the business.

Despite that, the company had seen colossal growth under his tenure, with a 14-fold increase in its share price.

In recent years, it had been plagued by wranglings with the UK competitio­n watchdog.

The company was fined earlier this year after the Competitio­n & Markets Authority found that Mr Cowgill and the chief executive of Footasylum, Barry Brown, had held two undisclose­d meetings as the regulator investigat­ed their merger.

Ultimately, JD Sports was told it had to sell Footasylum for less than half of what it paid for the business.

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