JJB finance boss set to quit the sports company

A FINANCE wiz parachuted into a stricken Wigan company to save it from ruin is set to quit.

JJB Sports bosses confirmed that Lawrence Coppock, who only joined the Martland Mill-based retail giant in May last year, will be leaving within the next 12 months.

Some business commentators read the departure as further bad news for a company still far from over its tribulations.

But the sports chain says the 58-year-old was brought in to complete a specific job and that job is now largely done.

A statement to the stock market said that Mr Coppock “has indicated that he feels that the role he was initially recruited to perform is substantially completed” and that a new man should take the company forward.

JJB has just experienced two of the most difficult years in its history that almost saw it go under. It only avoided filing for bankruptcy after selling its fitness club chain for £83m to former chairman Dave Whelan and agreeing to a painful debt restructuring deal with creditors that raised a further £100m.

It has now embarked on a fresh strategy under new chief executive Keith Jones which has included a management restructure to replace five regional supervisors with two representing the north and south of Britain respectively.

The company intends to sell proper sports kit rather than just leisurewear, differentiating itself from arch rival Sports World in the process.

The finance director’s announcement follows the departure of former chairman David Jones, who left because of ill-health.

Mr Coppock, paid £374,000 last year, took over from JJB executive director Peter Williams last year.

A spokesman for JJB said Mr Coppock “played a significant role in the initiatives taken to save the company from the brink of insolvency.”