Whelan sells up JJB Sports stakeholding

28 Apr 2008

By: Sport Industry Group

David Whelan, chairman of FA Premier League club Wigan Athletic, has controversially sold his remaining 29% holding stake in JJB Sports – the sports retail chain he founded 36 years ago.

The 70-year old Whelan, who sold his stakeholding to Icelandic financial group Exista and sports retailer Chris Ronnie for £190m, has come in for criticism over the move given he had promised the London Stock Exchange in January that he would not sell up for at least another 12 months.

Whelan made the statement followed his sale of 8.6% of the company's shares at the turn of the year.

The U-turn will see Ronnie become JJB's new deputy chief executive, and focus on sourcing and product development. Whelan remains an honorary life president of JJB Sports which has 430 shops in the UK.

‘Retiring from the board and selling my stake in the business I founded has not been an easy decision but it has been made easier by my confidence in the senior management team,’ stated Whelan.

Whelan remains chairman of Wigan Athletic.