Charlie McCreevy timed his Sports Direct exit to perfection

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct was subject of damaging ‘Guardian’ investigation

Mike Ashley: his sports retailer Sports Direct has been pilloried this week. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Mike Ashley: his sports retailer Sports Direct has been pilloried this week. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

 

Former minister for finance Charlie McCreevy really seems to have a knack of getting out before the proverbial brown stuff hits the fan.

Not only did he escape national politics and Fianna Fáil in plenty of time to be able to say he had nothing to do with the policies that caused the crash, he also got out of Sports Direct, Mike Ashley’s UK sports retailer, before that company became possibly the most hated firm in Britain.

Sports Direct has been pilloried this week after an investigation by the Guardian newspaper unearthed information about the tough working conditions endured by its workers.

The investigation found that some of its staff were effectively paid less than the minimum wage because they had to put up with lengthy unpaid searches of their person when leaving work.

The rambunctious Ashley couldn’t have the staff nicking the profits, now, could he?

Sports Direct announced last week that it has yet to find a replacement for McCreevy, who quit as a non-executive director last year.

He picked up a handy £185,000 (€255,000) serving on the board of Ashley’s company in his 3½ years with Sports Direct.

McCreevy is also a director of low-fares airline Ryanair, Virtu Financial and Celsius Funds, which should keep the wolf from the door if his pension runs out.

Meanwhile, Ashley’s Sports Direct has tooled with McCann Fitzgerald to defend itself in a fresh lawsuit initiated by the other shareholders in Irish department store Heatons, where it has agreed a €48 million deal to buy out the 50 per cent it doesn’t own.

It seems like Ashley could get in to a row in an empty room . . .

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