Tycoon to be replaced by 31-year-old son-in-law Michael Murray
Mike Ashley is to step down as the boss of Sports Direct owner Frasers Group as part of a reshuffle.
Frasers confirmed that Mr Ashley would be replaced as chief executive by his son-in-law, Michael Murray, in May next year.
Frasers, which owns the House of Fraser department store chain and Flannels said the Mr Ashley will remain on the board as an executive director.
The company told the stock market on Thursday that a pay and bonus deal was being drawn up for the proposed new chief executive.
Mr Ashley’s 31-year-old potential replacement is currently “head of elevation” at Frasers and has been tasked with modernising the business and creating a more upmarket image.
“The group’s elevation strategy is transforming the business and receiving positive feedback from consumers and our brand partners, especially on projects such as the new Oxford Street Sports Direct which opened in June 2021,” the firm added.
“The board consider it appropriate that Michael leads us forward on this increasingly successful elevation journey.”
Mr Ashley founded Sports Direct in Maidenhead, Berkshire, dans 1982 and has now grown his retail empire to be worth around £3bn and cover almost 1,000 magasins.
Frasers also revealed on Thursday that its profits plunged for the past year after sales were hit by enforced high street closures during the pandemic.
The retail giant said pre-tax profits dived by 94.1% to £8.5 million for the year to April 25, compared with £143.5 million in the previous year.
Mr Ashley said: “The group is continuing to invest in its physical and digital elevation strategy and our omni-channel offering is growing in strength.
“Our stores in the UK have reopened above expectations and our online channel continues to significantly outperform pre-Covid-19 periods.
“néanmoins, management remains of the view that there is a high risk of future Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, likely to be over this Winter and maybe beyond.”