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Mike Ashley to step down at Frasers Group

Mike Ashley is to step down from the board of Frasers Group, the retail business he founded.

Ashley said he would not stand for re-election at the annual meeting on October 19 and as a result would leave the board, handing over the running of the business to his son-in-law Michael Murray.

Murray has been chief executive officer of Frasers, which owns Sports Direct, Frasers and Flannels, since May after Ashley announced he would be stepping down last year. Ashley had moved to become deputy chairman.

Ashley said: “Since Michael Murray 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.”

He said he would continue to be “available to the board and senior management in an advisory capacity”, adding: “My commitment and support as a Frasers shareholder is as strong as ever.”

Ashley, who owns a 69.1 per cent stake in Frasers, will provide the group with £100 million of additional funding, Frasers said.

The billionaire businessman, 58, founded his retail empire with a single sports shop in Maidenhead, Berkshire, in 1982. It is now a global business with 815 Sports Direct, Evans Cycles and Game shops in Britain, 43 House of Fraser stores, 44 Flannels shops, 56 Jack Wills shops and 565 sites overseas.

Murray, who is married the eldest of Ashley’s three children, Anna, said: “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. We are all excited for the future.”

Shares in Frasers Group, which was recently promoted to the FTSE 100, dipped 1p, or 0.1 per cent, to 785p. The shares have risen by 17 per cent over the past year.

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