JJB Sports has dramatically rejected the resignation of its chief executive Chris Ronnie, arguing that the statement issued by his lawyers to the press was done without its agreement.
In a statement this afternoon, the sportwear retailer said: "JJB confirms that Chris Ronnie has tendered a letter of resignation conditional upon reaching agreement on the terms of a settlement. No such agreement has been reached and accordingly Mr Ronnie's resignation is not effective."
It added that JJB "continues to reserve its contractual and other rights" in respect of Mr Ronnie.
His attempted resignation from the beleaguered sportswear retailer followed an investigation into his involvement in a controversial transfer of shares.
Mr Ronnie issued a statement his lawyers at Manchester firm Pannone earlier today in which he said he had reached a financial settlement with JJB at a meeting on Tuesday.
Mr Ronnie was suspended last month after JJB discovered that his 27.5 per cent stake in the company was transferred to a stricken Icelandic bank last year.
He did not notify the beleaguered sportswear retailer of the transfer at the time, but Mr Ronnie said he was unaware of the change in ownership of the stake. In January, the retailer revealed that the ownership of the shares had moved from its chief executive's investment vehicle, Guro Leisure, to Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander in the UK and Isle of Man.
This week, it emerged that the share transfer took place on 27 October – about two months before the board of JJB found out about it.
The Pannone statement read: "Former Chief Executive of JJB Sports plc, Chris Ronnie, confirms that following agreement with the board of JJB Sports plc, he has tendered his resignation after a financial settlement was reached at a meeting on Tuesday 24 February 2009. Mr Ronnie has always maintained that he has not knowingly breached any disclosure obligations in relation to his shareholding in the company."