Sports Direct has appointed a non-executive chairman, Dr Keith Hellawell, to join its board.

The sports retailer had been criticised by the City for not following corporate governance as it has not had a full time chairman since 2007, when three months after it floated, David Richardson quit his role.

Former Blacks Leisure boss Simon Bentley has been acting as part time chairman ever since.  He will stay on the Sports Direct’s board as a non-executive director.    

Bentley said: “I am very pleased that Keith has agreed to join us and look forward to working closely with him. He brings with him a wealth of experience at the highest levels of both public and private sectors and will make a major contribution to the development of the company.”

Hellawell added: “I am delighted to join the board of Sports Direct and very much looking forward to contributing to its continuing success in the retail sector.”

Hellawell worked for forty years in the public sector and was chief constable of two British police forces. He also worked directly for the Prime Minister between 1998 and 2002 coordinating the UK’s national and international drugs policy.

He is currently non-executive chairman of pharmaceutical and consumer health company Goldshield Group.