Testimony describes meetings at pubs, drinking contests
Ashley accused of failing to pay promised bonus to ex-banker
In a corporate world where executive suites are filled with trim, marathon-running, salad-eating, MBA-educated leaders, Mike Ashley stands out—by stature, by behavior, and by the self-deprecating way he describes the crasser episodes of his lavish life atop Sports Direct Plc, the U.K. retailer he founded and made a fixture of shopping streets.
That’s the takeaway from days of court hearings that transfixed the U.K. public, with newspapers eagerly writing up every twist of the outlandish anecdotes that spilled forth from Ashley and his former employee, Jeffrey Blue. The ex-banker alleges that Ashley promised him 15 million pounds ($19.5 million) to double the company’s share price during a drinking session at a pub. A judge rejected the claim on Wednesday, saying “no reasonable person would have thought the offer to pay Mr. Blue was serious.”
The courtroom scenes, which read in parts more like a script to the next “Hangover” movie sequel than a day in the life of the chairman of one of the U.K.’s biggest companies, present an executive who parties hard, likes his drink, and knows where to take a break: under the conference-room table.
Here are nine quotes illustrating Ashley’s role in the drama:...MORE