JD Sports Fashion Plc Names New Chair As It Continues the Search For a CEO

JD Sports Fashion Plc on Friday announced Andy Higginson as its new chair, effective July 11.

The announcement comes after former executive chairman Peter Cowgill left his role in May as the company reviewed “internal governance and controls” and looked to separate the chair and CEO roles.

JD Sports is still scouting out a candidate to be its new CEO, a role that non-executive director and senior independent director Kath Smith has assumed in the interim. Until Higginson’s appointment, non-executive director and chair of the audit and risk committee Helen Ashton served as interim non-executive chair.

Higginson previously served in senior leadership roles at Tesco for nearly 15 years and most recently served as the chair of William Morrison Supermarkets between January 2015 until November 2021, during which he oversaw a turnaround for the business. He is also a senior independent director at Flutter.

“Having closely followed JD’s success over the years, I see it as an exceptional business, with a strong strategic position,” Higginson said in a statement. “The Board has clearly been addressing its governance and risk management structure and I very much look forward to working with the Board and the senior management team, including our new CEO once appointed, to bring my experience to bear and capitalize on the strength of the brands, market positions and channels to market including the global retail store network.”

Ashton said Higginson stood out for his extensive board experience and time spent in the retail sector.

“It is a testament to the quality and attractiveness of JD that we have recruited Andy to the important role of chair,” Ashton said in a statement. “JD is a great business with a clear strategy, occupying a unique place in the market and we look forward to working with him on our global development opportunities.”

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