UK markets open in 3 hours 13 minutes
  • NIKKEI 225

    27,781.19
    +3.29 (+0.01%)
     
  • HANG SENG

    19,320.62
    +645.27 (+3.46%)
     
  • CRUDE OIL

    80.64
    +0.66 (+0.83%)
     
  • GOLD FUTURES

    1,821.00
    +11.40 (+0.63%)
     
  • DOW

    34,429.88
    +34.88 (+0.10%)
     
  • BTC-GBP

    13,964.54
    +134.09 (+0.97%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    408.41
    +6.99 (+1.74%)
     
  • ^IXIC

    11,461.50
    -20.90 (-0.18%)
     
  • ^FTAS

    4,138.81
    -2.23 (-0.05%)
     

Mike Ashley to travel the world after stepping down from Frasers Group

Sports Direct CEO Mike Ashley - Kirsty O'Connor/ PA
Sports Direct CEO Mike Ashley - Kirsty O'Connor/ PA

Billionaire Mike Ashley has stood down from the board of his retail empire to spend more time travelling, leaving his son-in-law in charge of Frasers.

Mr Ashley, who passed the baton to Michael Murray a year ago, will relinquish his role as a director of the Sports Direct owner next month after the annual meeting with investors.

The sportswear tycoon, who set up the company as Sports Direct 40 years ago, will continue to advise the retailer and its senior management “when called upon” but has increasingly taken a back seat.

He owns just under 70pc of the business through Mash Holdings, his investment vehicle, and he will stump up £100m of additional funding to show his “continuing strong support” for the group.

His decision sent the shares down 2pc to 770p in afternoon trading, valuing the company at £3.6bn.

The 58-year-old handed the reins to Mr Murray, chief executive, after stepping back into an executive role in August last year.

Mr Murray, who has been in charge of Frasers’ so-called elevation strategy, recently said his father-in-law was now spending three to six months a year outside the UK and “never really wanted to be chief executive”. He has for years kept a property in Miami, Florida where he vacations.

Mr Ashley was executive deputy chairman of Sports Direct until 2016, when long-serving chief executive Dave Forsey resigned and he took his role.

He said: “Since Michael Murray took over the leadership of Frasers, 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 100pc 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."

Mr Murray has signalled a determination to continue to build bridges with the investor community and avoid the adversarial approach of his father-in-law, some analysts have said..

He has been seeking to move away from the cheap image the company acquired through the dominance of Sports Direct, instead working closely with major luxury fashion brands and modernising the store estate.

He 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.”

Sports Direct started life as a market hall in Maidenhead in 1982 and has since gone on to snap up several high street brands including Evans Cycles and Jack Wills.