Sports Direct moves to correct ‘fake news’ on CEO pay

Sports Direct International is alleging ‘fake news’ about a media report that claimed its CEO-to-average employee pay ratio was 400:1, the second highest in the FTSE 350.

A spokesman for Sports Direct referred to a list compiled by Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (PIRC) and apparently published by City AM.

“This is fake news,” said the spokesman. “It is incorrect to state that Sports Direct has the second-highest ratio of chief executive-to-average employee pay,” he added.

He said Sports Direct had contacted PIRC to request a copy of the report and would also be writing to them to express its disappointment.

“The incorrect data table was presumably based on an unvested bonus entitlement that was previously accrued by Dave Forsey, the former chief executive of Sports Direct,” the spokesman said.

“This entitlement was accrued over several years … but in any event, Mr Forsey chose to forego the bonus, which was never paid.”

He added that the bonus award in question was granted in 2011 and subject to the satisfaction of four Underlying EBITDA targets for FY 2012 to FY 2015, and was due to vest in 2017.

This was apparently explained more fully in the Directors’ Remuneration Report in Sports Direct’s 2016 Annual Report and Accounts.

“The true ratio over the period in question would therefore have been closer to 9:1, according to PIRC’s own calculations.

Incumbent CEO Mike Ashley did not draw a salary, and never had.

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