// Michael Murray, the head of Fraser Group’s “elevation strategy”, says Mike Ashley was “not involved” in the future of the business
// He is among Ashley’s trusted young execs responsible for executing Frasers Group’s turnaround
Mike Ashley has reportedly taken a backseat in the business transformation strategy of Frasers Group, allowing his young team of senior management takes the lead instead.
Michael Murray, the head of the retail giant’s “elevation strategy”, told The Sunday Telegraph that Ashley was “not involved” in the future of the business.
Murrary, who is engaged to Ashley’s daughter, is reportedly among Ashley’s trusted young senior executives who are responsible for delivering Frasers Group’s turnaround scheme.
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Frasers Group is the owner of various high street chains, notably Sports Direct, House of Fraser, Jack Wills, Evans Cycles, Game, USC, Flannels and new upmarket department store concept Frasers.
It was formerly known as Sports Direct International before it underwent a name change in December 2019 to reflect the direction of the business after acquiring House of Fraser – which includes Ashley’s ambitions to create a “Harrods of the high street”.
Thanks to the consultancy work of Murray, Frasers Group has since opened a raft of new stores, with a focus on everyday or upmarket fashion rather than just sportswear.
According to The Telegraph, Frasers Group also has plans to refurbish 100 of its 449 Sports Direct stores.
However, Murray warned that the firm could easily shut down shops of landlords don’t meet Frasers Group’s demand to switch to turnover-based rent.
He also told the newspaper he could potentially become the next boss of Frasers Group, citing how Ashley was “very supportive” of him.
Frasers Group is slated to publish its full year trading update next month, and retail analysts are expecting a positive performance amid reports that it stayed profitable during the Covid-19 pandemic.