JD Sports blocks Boohoo non-exec appointment

Online fashion retailer Boohoo’s plans to appoint Kath Smith as a non-executive director have taken a U-turn.

Smith was due to join the board as an independent non-executive director on 1 May, but Boohoo announced late on Monday (4 May) that JD Sports – where Smith also holds a non-exec position – has withdrawn its consent for her to take a role at the fellow north-west-based retailer.

On 22 April, Mahmud Kamani, Boohoo’s group executive chairman, had welcomed Smith’s arrival, hailing her “commercial insight” and saying she would be “a great asset to the board and the business as it continues to develop and grow”.

Boohoo said today it will now seek a suitable replacement as soon as possible, following the decision by JD Sports.

Smith joined JD Sports in May 2019, having previously been the general manager and vice president of outdoor fashion and equipment retailer The North Face’s EMEA business. She has extensive experience in the sports brand industry, having spent 20 years in the sector.

At the time, Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports, said: “Her experience working with world class brands and a number of globally successful businesses will inevitably be of significant benefit to the JD business during a time of international growth."

Former JD chief financial officer, Brian Small, who left the business in October 2018, is currently on the Boohoo board as non-executive deputy chairman. He arrived at the online retailer in January 2020.

Boohoo has also ramped up its sports, gym, and activewear ranges in recent years – which are longstanding core product lines at JD. Boohoo Man, in particular, has launched several sports-related ranges over the last two years.

JD declined to comment on the decision to withdraw permission for Smith to join Boohoo, when contacted by Essential Retail.

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