Former Woolworths boss in line to be JJB Sports chief executive

'Class act' Steve Johnson approached as the sports retailer is forced to postpone £100m rights issue

Steve Johnson, the chief executive of Woolworths when it collapsed last year, has been approached by advisers to JJB about becoming the struggling sports retailer's chief executive.

It's believed that Lazard, which advises JJB, has spoken to Mr Johnson about taking over at the helm of the chain, which is currently without a chief executive after the acrimonious exit of Chris Ronnie earlier in the year.

On Friday, JJB was forced to postpone a £100m rights issue after investors in the firm, believed to be Schroders and Toscafund, raised concerns about the financial dealings of the company's chair, Sir David Jones. Earlier in the day the UK Listing Authority held up the cash call over what was described as a "mystery accounting issue".

Mr Johnson is currently working as an adviser to Valco, the private equity arm of the restructuring firm Hilco, which is overhauling failed retailer, Allied Carpets.

A source familiar with the situation said: "Johnson came in far too late to turn Woolies around. He is a class act but I'm not sure if he will want to return to such a high profile role and to a company which is in such a mess."

JJB, chaired by Sir David, the veteran retailer who resurrected the Next retail group in the 1990s, has hired the headhunter Egon Zehnder to conduct a search for a new chief executive.

It emerged in the summer that Sir David and Mr Ronnie had planned to take JJB private in a deal backed by the failed Icelandic bank, Kaupthing, although relations between the pair have since soured.

JJB Sports, which is already the subject of investigations by the Office of Fair Trading and Serious Fraud Office over price-fixing, will tomorrow seek to assuage investor concerns over the postponement of its £100m rights issue.

The capital-raising imbroglio comes after JJB narrowly avoided going into administration in April when the retailer's creditors agreed to a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate