Sports activities Direct founder Mike Ashley to step down as boss of Frasers Group retail empire subsequent yr | Enterprise Information

Sports activities Direct founder Mike Ashley is to step down as head of his retail empire and hand the baton to his potential son-in-law, it has been introduced.

The corporate confirmed the tycoon will depart his function as chief govt of Frasers Group subsequent yr, because the enterprise revealed its newest full-year buying and selling figures, which confirmed a pointy drop in income on account of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Mr Ashley will stay on the board as an govt director.

He can be changed within the high job by 31-year-old Michael Murray, who’s engaged to Mr Ashley’s daughter Anna.

Mr Murray is presently “head of elevation” on the retail group, which additionally owns Home of Fraser and Flannels, and has been tasked with modernising the enterprise and making a extra upmarket picture.

The agency stated: “The group’s elevation technique is reworking the enterprise and receiving constructive suggestions from customers and our model companions, particularly on tasks reminiscent of the brand new Oxford Avenue Sports activities Direct which opened in June 2021.

“The board think about it applicable that Michael leads us ahead on this more and more profitable elevation journey.”

The board is now in discussions over “transitioning” the function from Mr Ashley to Mr Murray.

The corporate added: “It’s presently proposed that Michael Murray will assume the function of CEO on 1 Could 2022.”

Mr Ashley, who has been one of many excessive avenue’s most vibrant and controversial characters, based Sports activities Direct in Maidenhead, Berkshire, in 1982.

He has quickly grown his retail operation in recent times, snapping up a variety of troubled British manufacturers together with Evans Cycles, Jack Wills and Recreation.

The group is now price round £3bn and has nearly 1,000 outlets.

Mr Ashley was beforehand govt deputy chairman of the retail group – which modified its title from Sports activities Direct Worldwide to Frasers Group final yr – till 2016, when long-serving chief govt Dave Forsey resigned.

The management reshuffle got here because the group revealed its income plummeted over the past yr after gross sales have been hit by enforced excessive avenue closures throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The retail big stated that pre-tax income dived by 94.1% to £8.5m for the yr to 25 April, in contrast with £143.5m within the earlier yr.

Mr Ashley stated: “The group is continuous to spend money on its bodily and digital elevation technique and our omni-channel providing is rising in power.

“Our shops within the UK have reopened above expectations and our on-line channel continues to considerably outperform pre-Covid-19 intervals.

“None the much less, administration stays of the view that there’s a excessive threat of future COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, prone to be over this winter and possibly past.”

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