Industry titan Mike Ashley is to step back from Frasers Group the company he founded and that has become iconic across the retail space after 40 years at the helm.
The company, which includes the Sports Direct and House of Fraser brands, announced that its billionaire owner would not stand for re-election as a director at this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) and he will therefore step down from the board on October 19 this year.
He will continue to be available to the board and senior management in an advisory capacity “when called upon”, according to Fraser Group. Ashley will also provide an injection of £100 million to support the business and continue its “elevation strategy”.
He had been expected to take a backseat at Frasers Group after the promotion of his son-in-law Michael Murray to head the day-to-day operations of the retailer in May.
Ashley said “Since Michael took over the leadership of Frasers Group earlier this year, the business has gone from strength to strength. It is clear that the group has the right leadership and strategy in place and I feel very confident passing the baton to Michael and his team.
“Although I am stepping down from the board, I remain 100% 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.”
Murray added: “Mike has built an incredible business over the past 40 years and, on behalf of the Board and the Group, I want to thank him for all he has done. With our new strategy and leadership team, we are driving this business forward at pace and we are all excited for the future.
Just last week Frasers Group’s takeover bid for Australian online flash sales discounter My Sale was rejected by the group as it did not consider the terms “fair” or “reasonable”.