Sports Direct has finally hired a non-executive chairman after searching since May 2007, when David Richardson dramatically quit the sports retailer’s board just three months after it floated.

Keith Hellawell, the former chief constable of West Yorkshire police, will have his work cut out as the retailer is currently under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Office of Fair Trading.

Hellawell also chairs pharmaceuticals company the Goldshield Group, which he led through a SFO price-fixing inquiry last year.

Simon Bentley, who was Sports Direct’s acting chairman, will continue to serve the board as a non-executive director.

Investec analyst Katharine Wynne, who has in the past challenged the group on corporate governance, said Hellawell’s background is “interesting” but that he is not an “obviously City-friendly appointment”.

She said: “One could also assume that it leaves the coast clear for Bentley get involved in Blacks.”

Bentley said that Hellawell brings a “wealth of experience”.