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Frasers Group CEO Mike Ashley reportedly ‘set to step down’

By Huw Hughes

Aug. 4, 2021

People

Image: Frasers Group

Frasers Group boss Mike Ashley is reportedly set to step down from the helm of the retail empire he founded almost 40 years ago.

Ashley is expected to hand the reins over to Michael Murray, who is Frasers Group’s head of elevation and who is also engaged to Ashley’s daughter Anna, The Telegraph reports.

It is thought Ashley would then become Frasers Group's deputy chairman and that the announcement could come as early as Thursday alongside the group's trading update.

Ashley first founded his fashion group, formerly known as Sports Direct, in 1982. Since then, it has grown into a multi-billion-pound firm, snapping up other smaller businesses along the way, including Jack Wills, Flannels, House of Fraser and Evans Cycles.

The group rebranded to Frasers Group in 2019, a nod to Frasers, the upmarket offshoot of House of Fraser, and a reflection of the group’s elevation strategy, which Michael Murray has been spearheading.

Ashley has previously said he wants Frasers to become the “Harrods of the high street”, and last year the group bought shares in Mulberry and Hugo Boss as part of its elevation strategy.

The group has previously said one of its key strategic priorities “is the elevation of our retail proposition and building stronger relationships with premium third-party brands”.

Another key priority is opening elevated multi-brand stores, for example three new regional flagship Flannels stores opening in 2021, including a seven-floor megastore in Liverpool.