Budget fashion chain retailer Primark has announced its founder and chairman Arthury Ryan has died at the age of 83, following a short illness.
Ryan founded the company, then known as Penneys, in Dublin in 1969 with the news coming just days after the retailer celebrated its 50th anniversary.
It is still known as Penneys in Ireland but the retailer changed its name to Primark when it expanded to the UK to avoid legal issues with US department store chain JC Penney. Primark now operates over 350 stores in 11 countries across Europe and the US.
Ryan ran the company as chief executive for 40 years before taking a step back 10 years ago, remaining as chairman.
Commenting on the news Primark’s chief executive, Paul Merchant, called Ryan a “gifted retailer and a visionary leader”.
“On behalf of everyone at Primark, we are greatly saddened by the passing of our founder and chairman, Arthur Ryan. We want to extend our deepest sympathies to Arthur’s family at this sad time. Arthur Ryan was a truly gifted retailer and a visionary leader.
“He was a true retail pioneer. He innovated and was never complacent, despite many successes. He challenged us all to be the best we can be. His drive and passion was always shown alongside great humility, integrity and support for our people. All of these characteristics remain guiding principles at Primark today.”
He added: “Throughout his entire career, Arthur remained deeply connected to the business and the customer, regularly visiting stores and walking the shop floor. His legacy will continue in the business that he founded and built. Those of us who worked closely with him will cherish his friendship and wisdom and he will be hugely missed by all of his Primark family.”