JD Sports Fashion goes shopping for retail veteran Shapland

One of Britain’s most experienced retail executives is joining the board of JD Sports Fashion, part of a management shake-up aimed at improving governance under its new chairman.

Sky News has learnt that Darren Shapland, a former finance chief at J Sainsbury, will be named on Tuesday as a non-executive director of the UK’s biggest listed sporting goods chain.

Mr Shapland, who has been facing an attempt by an activist investor to oust him as chairman of Topps Tiles, has also worked for Carpetright, Arcadia Group and Notonthehighstreet during more than 30 years in the industry.

His appointment will be the latest component of a boardroom overhaul orchestrated by Andy Higginson, the former Wm Morrison chairman, who was recruited last summer amid a corporate governance crisis at JD Sports.

Mr Higginson moved swiftly to bring in Regis Schultz, a former executive at the DIY retailer B&Q, as the £8.5bn company’s new chief executive.

He was identified as the long-term replacement for Peter Cowgill, who stepped down last year amid a series of boardroom disagreements which pre-dated Mr Higginson’s arrival.

Since their appointment, they have announced a shift in the company’s strategy, accelerating investment in its global retail network while selling non-core brands.

The company is majority-owned by Pentland, the family-controlled group which manages a portfolio of brands, including Berghaus, Lacoste and Speedo.

Shares in JD Sports closed on Monday at 167.65p.

A spokesman for the retailer declined to comment.