Mike Ashley “set to step down” as Frasers Group CEO

Mike Ashley
Mike Ashley is the founder of Sports Direct, which is owned by Frasers Group. (Image: Joe Giddens/PA Wires)
// Mike Ashley might be stepping aside as Frasers Group boss this week
// He could be replaced by his prospective son-in-law Michael Murray, who is currently “head of elevation”
// Frasers Group is slated to reveal its full year trading update on Thursday

Mike Ashley is reportedly set to step down from leading Frasers Group and hand the reins to his prospective son-in-law.

The tycoon is expected to reveal plans to step back from his role as chief executive of the retail empire to become deputy chairman on Thursday, The Telegraph has reported.

It said he would be replaced in the top job by 31-year-old Michael Murray, who is engaged to Ashley’s daughter Anna.


Murray is currently “head of elevation” at Frasers Group – which owns Sports Direct, House of Fraser, Jack Wills, Evans Cycles, USC, Game and Flannels – and has been tasked with modernising the business and creating a more upmarket image.

Just last month, Murray told The Telegraph that Ashley was “not involved” in the future of the business, and that he was among Ashley’s trusted young senior executives responsible for delivering Frasers Group’s turnaround scheme.

However, sources speaking to The Telegraph this week suggested that the famously mercurial retail boss could still change his plans.

Ashley has been one of the high street’s most colourful characters since founding Sports Direct in 1982.

He has rapidly grown his retail operation in recent years, snapping up a number of distressed British retailers, starting with House of Fraser in 2018.

His firm 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 Murray’s consultancy work, Frasers Group has since opened a raft of new stores, with a focus on everyday or upmarket fashion rather than just sportswear.

The retail empire is now worth around £3 billion and operates almost 1000 shops.

Ashley was previously executive deputy chairman of the firm until 2016, when long-serving chief executive Dave Forsey resigned.

Frasers Group will reveal its latest full-year trading figures on Thursday and is expected to highlight a recovery in sales following the reopening of high street stores in April.

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