Sep 11, 2019

Hiring Sports Direct auditor is no job for Leadsom

On paper, Sports Direct billionaire Mike Ashley and business secretary Andrea Leadsom are titans of trade, colossusi of commerce, doyen(ne)s of dealmaking. Now there is a real possibility that the two will have to pool their talents to tackle a corporate crisis: Sports Direct's inability, confirmed at its AGM, to find a new auditor. Sky News said Sports Direct was "Pleading with the Big Four accountants to pitch for its audit contract" to prevent government intervention. Shareholders were urged to vote him off Sports Direct's board by adviser Pirc, which noted his failure to alert former auditor Grant Thornton to a €600m tax bill while serving on the audit committee. Each day of Sports Direct's financial year that passes with no auditor in place only reinforces the case for a new system.

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