Former Next chair David Wolfson dies
David Wolfson, the man who set Next on its journey to being a UK retail powerhouse, has died aged 85. Later Lord Wolfson of Sunningdale, he was also a major adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in-between running the family retail business Great Universal Stores and Next.
He was a director of then-Burberry owner GUS from 1973 to 1978 but left to take a full-time role as a political adviser. However, he returned part-time in 1982 and was also chairman of Alexon from 1982 to 1986.
His involvement with Next started after the company had over-expanded and saw its share price plummeting to as little as 7p.
He became chairman of Next in 1990, working closely with CEO David Jones who had previously been at GUS’s Kays unit.
They worked together to revive Next’s fortunes with Jones describing him as “inspirational” and someone who could “identify the core problem and address it”.
He returned to GUS in 1996 to chair the company and also acquired businesses like Experian and Argos.
His son Simon took over at Next in 2001 and continued his father’s work of growing the business into the giant operation it is today.
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