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UPDATE 1-Sports Direct CFO to follow CEO out the door
October 13, 2016 / 7:31 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Sports Direct CFO to follow CEO out the door

(Adds background, analyst comment, share price)

LONDON, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Sports Direct said its acting chief financial officer was leaving to take a new job, the second management change in less than a month when the British retailer’s profit is plunging and it is trying to mend its battered image.

The 450-store sportswear chain said on Thursday that acting CFO Matt Pearson would stay in his role until his resignation takes effect on Dec. 31. It has also appointed Herbert Monteith as its interim head of finance.

Pearson’s exit follows that of chief executive Dave Forsey in September when the company named its billionaire founder and controlling shareholder Mike Ashley as the new CEO.

The changes at the top come at a challenging time. Sports Direct last week cut its profit forecast for the second time in a month, blaming the latest slump in the pound.

The company’s management has also been focusing on changing its working practices after it was publicly criticised by politicians who compared conditions at its warehouse in central England to a Victorian workhouse.

Sports Direct has launched a review to try to improve conditions and is also trying to win over shareholders, unhappy with its poor corporate governance standards.

The weak pound after Britain voted to leave the European Union in June is adding to the problems for Sports Direct, whose shares have lost more than half their value this year.

The company said last week that in view of sterling’s recent weakness it had entered into a hedging arrangement with respect to the pound/dollar rate.

However, it said sterling’s dramatic overnight fall had resulted in a “crystallisation of that rate” at $1.19, resulting in a hit of about 15 million pounds to its 2016-17 core earnings forecast. (Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Kate Holton/Keith Weir)

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