Mike Ashley to step down from Frasers Group after 40 years as controversial retail tycoon departs with £100m funding commitment
- Son-in-law Michael Murray took over as CEO earlier this year
- Ashley founded the group in 1982 as a single store in Maidenhead
- He will remain available to the group in an advisory capacity
Mike Ashley will step down from Frasers Group’s board next month, 40 years after he founded the retail giant.
Frasers Group told investors on Tuesday that former CEO Ashley would not be seeking re-election as a director at the firm’s 19 October AGM, but he would continue to provide support both as a shareholder and in an advisory capacity.
Ashley, who is Frasers biggest shareholder via his investment vehicle, will provide the group with £100million of additional funding alongside the existing financial support he already provides, the firm said.
Mike Ashley said in a statement that the group had ‘gone from strength to strength’ under Murray’s leadership
Founded in 1982 as Mike Ashley Sports, Frasers Group has gone seen enormous growth, as well as disruption and controversy, during its founder’s time.
Having begun life as a single store in Maidenhead, Frasers Group is now the owner of House of Fraser, Jack Wills, GAME, Flannels, USC, Lillywhites and Evans Cycles.
The group’s intellectual property also includes brands like Everlast, Lonsdale, Slazenger and No Fear.
Mr Ashely’s son-in-law Michael Murray took over as CEO of Frasers Group earlier this year and has pledged to help rebuild the firm’s relationships in the City during his tenure.
The group has been on an acquisition spree of late, picking up companies and intellectual property on the cheap as smaller rivals fell into administration, including Jack Wills, DW Sports Fitness and Missguided.
Mike Ashley said in a statement that the group had ‘gone from strength to strength’ under Murray, and Frasers Group now ‘has the right leadership and strategy in place’ to allow the founder to step aside.
He added: ‘Although I am stepping down from the Board, I remain 100 per cent committed to supporting Frasers and Michael’s plans and ambitions, and I look forward to helping the team as and when they require me. My commitment and support as a Frasers’ shareholder is as strong as ever.’
Michael Murray said: ‘With our new strategy and leadership team, we are driving this business forward at pace and we are all excited for the future.
‘We are grateful to have Mike’s support and expertise available to us as we continue the next stage of Frasers Group’s journey.’