Controversial businessman and founder of Sports Direct, Mike Ashley, is stepping down as head of his retail empire.
After 40 years in charge it was confirmed the tycoon is handing over the reigns to his future son-in-law Michael Murray, 31.
Mr Murray, a financial consultant is engaged to Mr Ashley’s daughter Anna.
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He is currently ‘Head of Elevation’ at the Frasers Group, which owns the sportswear firm, House of Fraser and high end clothes shop Flannels.
He has been working at ways to modernise the three companies in response to a shift in consumer spending habits.
Mr Ashley is keeping his position on the board as an executive director, the Daily Mirror reports.
The company said its board is now in discussions over “transitioning” the role from Mr Ashley to Mr Murray.
It added: “It is currently proposed that Michael Murray will assume the role of CEO on 1 May 2022.”
Mr Ashley was previously executive deputy chairman of Sports Direct until 2016, when long-serving chief executive Dave Forsey resigned.
The board reshuffle came as the group revealed its profits plummeted over the last year after the coronavirus pandemic forced almost all high street chains to close.
Frasers Group is currently worth around £3bn and has almost 1,000 shops.
The retail giant said that pre-tax profits dived by 94.1% to £8.5m for the year to 25 April, compared with £143.5m 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.
“None the less, 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.”
Mr Murray first hinted at a possible reshuffling earlier this year when Ashley was absent during a recent tour of the revamped Sports Direct store on Oxford Street.
When asked about his absence, Murray said his prospective father-in-law “didn’t want to have his handwriting on the future direction of the firm.”
Mr Murray added: “It really be easy when someone comes and rips something up you’ve done for 30 years, but this is what we’re going to be doing for the next 30 years.
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Ashley, from Burnham, Buckinghamshire, founded Sports Direct as a single store in Maidenhead in 1982 and is now worth £3bn with almost 1,000 stores.
He remained the company’s sole owner until a 2007 stock market floatation, when he also sold a portion of the company and pocketed $1.8 billion.
Later that year, upon becoming a billionaire, Ashley paid £135million for Newcastle Football Club.
And despite pandemic fears, Frasers Group has expanded in the past year, rescuing household names including Evans Cycles, Game and Jack Wills from administration.
The controversial tycoon also famously rescued House of Fraser from collapse, shutting hundreds of stores in the process, leading experts to claim he wanted to take over the high street.
Sports Direct came under fire last year after opening a branch after mandatory lockdown restrictions kicked in. His bid for collapsed Debenhams was rejected this year.
The business announced three new Flannels department store openings last year in Sheffield, Leicester and Liverpool.
Ashley, who has an estimated net worth of £2.7billion, saw his wealth rise by almost £1billion during the pandemic, according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2021.
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