Blog: JJB boss grilled over loan

Joe Ayling | 24 July 2009

Troubled UK sportswear retailer JJB has been hitting the headlines more during this past month for the antics of its executive chairman Sir David Jones than for the performance of the company.

Up the drama stakes with the involvement of Mike Ashley, the owner of arch rival Sports Direct who controversially loaned Sir David GBP1.5m, and it’s not surprising that today’s AGM was an eagerly-anticipated event. just-style’s news editor Joe Ayling even travelled up to the firm’s headquarters in Wigan to see the drama unfold for himself.

It had been suggested that billionaire Mr Ashley, the owner of Newcastle United football club, would turn up at today’s meeting, but he ducked out and sent a representative armed with difficult questions along instead. He was eventually escorted out of the building by the head of security.

Jones admitted that in hindsight he should not have agreed the deal with Ashley, but denied any conflict of interest from the loan. Ashley has also been stirring up trouble by questioning the timing of the agreement and whether it was made before or after Sir David joined the JJB board.

But JJB’s board has continued to stand behind the executive chairman and so, it seems, do the company’s workers. A banner strung from the railings outside the JJB HQ this-morning declared: “Sir David we are 100% behind you. From your 6,500 loyal employees.”


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