Sir David Jones passes away
The man heralded for taking over the leadership of Next from George Davies, who had created today's iconic retail brand from the somewhat dull Hepworths retail chain in the 1980s, has passed away aged 76.
Sir David Jones CBE, and an ECMOD Lifetime Achievement Award winner, had joined Next in 1986 from Grattan, and is rightly credited with steering it from near collapse into the spectacularly profitable entity it has become. All the more remarkable, as unbeknown to anyone outside of his close family, Jones had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at age 39, only revealing the news years later in 2001 when the effects of the illness became too noticeable to hide.
In 2002 Jones took the role of Next chairman and was succeeded as CEO by his protege Lord Simon Wolfson.
After leaving Next in 2006, Jones took up various roles including that of executive chairman of JJB Sports which culminated with a court trial following alleged forgery of documents to hide a loan arrangement for the sum of £1.5 million he had borrowed from JJB Sports founder Dave Whelan. The matter cast a dark shadow over a highly successful career, yet Sir David will continue to be remembered by sector colleagues as the man who saved Next, creating the UK's third largest fashion retail empire which has become the sector's most admired entity.
In the following statements from Next it is clear that he continued to be held in high regard: "David will be remembered by many of his colleagues as the man whose courage, good sense, kindness and hard work navigated the company through its most demanding moments in the late 1980s until his retirement in 2006. David was a true friend of Next and our thoughts are with his family at this time."