The appearance of Sports Direct supremo Mike Ashley, earlier this week, in front of the parliamentary Business, Innovation & Skills select committee was a fascinating example of message management. 

Having resisted repeatedly an 'invitation' to appear (and rebuffing a parliamentary summons), Mr Ashley not only agreed to give evidence to 'defend the good name' of Sports Direct, but he strayed into territory which is likely to cause his company's executives and investors some anxieties in the weeks ahead. 

Namely, that the company had grown too big, too quickly and that he was no longer able to control it. An admission that none of the Committee members was expecting to hear. 

Whatever the longer term reputational and financial impact on Sports Direct, Mr Ashley was pretty effective at diffusing what should have been a much more combustible evidence session. 

But it does makes you wonder, why all the objections over turning up in the first place?