Sports Direct non-executive resigns

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Mike Ashley's Sports Direct lost its senior non-executive director yesterday amid accusations the company is failing to comply with corporate governance rules.

Chris Bulmer, a former human resources director of Brambles and Whitbread, after she was asked to approve the appointment of two non-executives before a new chairman had been signed up. "Independent directors need to insist on the corporate governance rules being applied correctly," she said. "Otherwise, what's the point?"

Ms Bulmer is understood to have been asked to approve the appointment of Simon Bentley, currently acting chairman at the company, as chief executive, but she refused to do so before the issue of the chairman was resolved.

A number of suitable candidates are believed to have been interviewed for the post of chairman but were told that the position would be dependent onMr Bentley becoming chief executive.

Ms Bulmer, who is married to Scottish & Newcastle's outgoing chief executive, Tony Froggatt, was brought in by Sport Direct's former chairman, David Richardson. Mr Richardson, who was also critical of the company's management style, quit in May.

Sports Direct announced yesterday that it had signed up Malcolm Dalgleish, the head of retail for the property company CB Richard Ellis's Europe, Middle East and Africa business, and Dave Singleton, the former head of Europe, Middle East and Africa for the sportswear giant Reebok, as non-executive directors. Mr Bentley said: "Dave and Malcolm's experience and proven track records will be of great value to the company. At the same time, we are sorry that Chris has decided to step down."