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Ex-Morrisons chairman joins JD Sports after Cowgill exit

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JD Sports has hired former Morrisons boss Andrew Higginson to take over from Peter Cowgill as its new chairman.

Mr Cowgill stepped down in May after 18 years as the sportswear retailer’s executive chairman.

His resignation came after the company was fined £4.3 million by the competition watchdog for exchanging information with Footasylum in February, amid reports that Mr Cowgill had a meeting in a car park in Bury with a counterpart from the brand JD Sports planned to acquire.

In May, the firm announced that Mr Cowgill was stepping down after a review of its internal governance and controls, deciding it also needed to accelerate the “separation of the roles of chair and chief executive officer”.

Former Reebok and Adidas executive Kath Smith has temporarily been made chief executive as the group continues the reshuffle of it leadership team.

Morrisons stock
Former Morrisons chairman Andy Higginson has been appointed by JD Sports (Mikael Buck/Morrisons/PA)

On Friday, JD Sports said Mr Higginson, who was chairman of Morrisons until its takeover last year, will be appointed on Monday July 11 following an extensive search process by the board.

He helped oversee a significant improvement in performance at the supermarket over his six years with the group.

Helen Ashton, interim chairwoman of JD Sports, said: “The board was impressed with the high-quality candidates that we met throughout the recruitment process.

“Andy, however, stood out as the best candidate, with his extensive board experience, including as a chair, and his strong track record in the international retail sector.

“It is a testament to the quality and attractiveness of JD that we have recruited Andy to the important role of chair.

“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.”

Mr Higginson said: “Having closely followed JD’s success over the years, I see it as an exceptional business, with a strong strategic position.

“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 capitalise on the strength of the brands, market positions and channels to market, including the global retail store network.”

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