Mike Ashley

Founder and deputy chairman Sports Direct

Entrepreneur Mike Ashley, the founder and deputy chairman of Sports Direct, built his retail empire up by acquisition and has propelled it into the ranks of the FTSE 100 index. His career in retail began in his teens when his parents lent him £10,000 to open his own shop, Mike Ashley Sports. Thanks to Ashley’s business acumen, the chain expanded quickly. By 1990 he had three outlets; over the next decade, he acquired 100. 25 years after starting the company, Ashley floated it on the stock market, making the brand founder £925 million over night. Now a FTSE 100 company, Sports Direct has joined the ranks of Tesco, Barclays Bank and BP.

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