Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley takes over as Sport Direct chief executive

Mike Ashley

Mike Ashley

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Magpies owner Mike Ashley has taken over as chief executive of his retail chain Sports Direct.

The firm announced this morning that long standing chief executive Dave Forsey had resigned yesterday and that Mr Ashley, previously executive deputy chairman, had been appointed with immediate effect.
Mr Forsey, who has been with the retailer for 32 years, said: "I have given my entire working life to the company and in return the company has given me amazing opportunities and experiences. I wish everyone at Sports Direct well in the future."
Sports Direct added that Mr Ashley will continue to be supported by the existing executive management team, and Mr Forsey has agreed to facilitate a "smooth handover of his responsibilities".
Mr Ashley said: "I feel like I have lost my right arm, but I do hope to have the opportunity to work with Dave again in the future."
The news comes after a gruelling year for the business, which has seen Sport Direct come under fire for working conditions at its Shirebrook factory and its corporate governance practices.
The firm also announced that Karen Byers has been promoted to the role of global head of operations and Sean Nevitt has been promoted to the role of global head of commercial, both with immediate effect.
Chairman Keith Hellawell said: "I would like to thank Dave for his significant contribution over the last 32 years and during a period of significant growth and change at the company. On behalf of all the people at Sports Direct I wish him well in his future endeavours."
Mr Ashley has been lambasted for using zero-hour contracts, presiding over "Victorian" working practices and was grilled by MPs in June, where he admitted that some warehouse staff were paid below the national minimum wage.
Earlier this week, Sports Direct said it is to undertake an independent review of working practices and corporate governance, following concerns raised by shareholders.