Sports Direct International (SDI) announced just before its shareholders' assembly last week that its chairman, Keith Hellawell, would retire and not stand for re-election. The same applied for Simon Bentley, senior independent director. Three proxy advisers had previously urged SDI shareholders to vote against Hellawell, who has been in place since 2009, due to alleged governance issues. David Daly, a former Nike executive who was already an SDI director, is taking over as chairman. The re-election of Mike Ashley, SDI's chief executive and majority shareholder, was opposed by 9.78 percent of the votes. Placating concerns about the absence of female board members, SDI appointed Nicola Frampton as a non-executive director from Oct. 1. She is managing director of the U.K. retail division at William Hill, and she previously focused on risk management and corporate governance as a consultant, most recently with Deloitte. Furthermore, Cally Price has been elected as the next Workers' Representative to the board from May. The assembly still caused some confusion as Bentley reportedly said that a tie-up between House of Fraser and Debenhams, two British department store chains, had been discussed. SDI bought House of Fraser's assets for £90 million (€101.1m-$117.6m) last month and it has nearly 30 percent in Debenhams. SDI rushed out a statement saying that it did not intend to make an offer to acquire all of Debenhams. Under British takeover rules, this means it may not issue any such offer for at least six months, under various caveats.