Sports Direct chairman Keith Hellawell is set to face a shareholder revolt later over his proposed reappointment.
Independent investors are being urged to vote against his re-election because of a “catalogue of governance and operational failures” under his watch.
However, chief executive Mike Ashley is expected to support Mr Hellawell, ensuring he will continue in the role.
The company has been under fire during the past 18 months over conditions for its workers and governance issues.
The advisory group, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) is recommending investors vote against Mr Hellawell’s reappointment.
“As chairman, Keith Hellawell has overseen a period of serious operational, governance, and risk oversight concerns which have materially affected the company’s outlook and damaged shareholder value,” the ISS said in a report.
At the company’s September 2016 annual general meeting, more than half of the independent shareholders voted against Mr Hellawell after media reports and a parliamentary committee lambasted the company over conditions for people working at the company’s main warehouse and over corporate governance.
Mr Hellawell, a former police chief constable and government drugs adviser, offered to resign but was persuaded to stay “in order to assist with making further improvements”.
The 74-year-old, who has been Sports Direct chairman since 2009, said he would step down at the 2017 AGM if he had failed to win over shareholders’ approval by then.
New rules to empower shareholders mean Mr Hellawell is obliged to face a second vote now before he is confirmed in the chairman’s role. That vote is taking place at Thursday’s specially convened meeting.
One of the company’s investors, Aberdeen Asset Management has already said it will continue to oppose Mr Hellawell in the role, despite moves by the company to address the criticism levelled at it last year.
“Though we welcome the positive progress the company has made over the last three months we remain deeply concerned about its governance. We are therefore again opposing the election of Mr Hellawell,” Paul Lee, head of corporate governance at Aberdeen Asset Management, said.
However, another leading investor advisory service, Glass Lewis, is recommending that investors vote for Mr Hellawell’s reappointment because of “the need for continuity in the leadership of the board, particularly in this period of flux” and pointed to some positive steps that had been taken at the firm.
And Mr Ashley holds 55% of the company’s shares and is also expected to vote in favour of Mr Hellawell’s reappointment.
Over the past year Sports Direct has faced a barrage of criticism over its financial performance, corporate governance and conditions for workers at its warehouse in Shirebrook, Derbyshire.
A report by the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills committee said employees of the company were “”.
Since then the company has promised an independent inquiry and to undertake significant reforms, including offering compensation to workers who had been underpaid.
Several senior employees have left the company. Dave Forsey as chief executive and was replaced by Mr Ashley. The veteran banker David Brayshaw was recruited as an independent director.
However, the company has provoked further criticism by ordering a £40m corporate jet and over business relationships involving members of Mr Ashley’s family.