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    5. Mike's youngest daughter Ashley is dating a board member


    Mike's youngest daughter Ashley is dating a board member

    Mr Al Mudallal (right) is seen as an ally of Mr Ashley within Frasers. Photo: LinkedIn

    Mike's youngest daughter Ashley is in a relationship with a new Frasers Group board member, it has emerged, in a sign of deepening family ties within the retail giant.

    David Al-Mudallal, Frasers' chief operating officer, who was added to the board in February, is reportedly dating Matilda Ashley.

    Ms Ashley is one of founder Mr Ashley's three children from his marriage to Linda Gerlmere.

    Mr Ashley's eldest daughter, Anna, is married to Frasers chief executive Michael Murray, who has taken over the fashion giant in 2022. Mr Murray was previously its “head of management” and was responsible for all of Frasers' property dealings.

    The Sunday Times reported on the relationship. Frasers declined to comment.

    Mr Al Mudallal was seen as an ally of Mr Ashley within Frasers. He joined Frasers Group in 2017, initially as Head of Human Resources and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2021.

    He was appointed to the board in February along with Ger Wright, managing director of the sports business, and Helen Wright, global chief executive of luxury brand Sergio Rossi.

    Mr Murray said at the time that Mr Al Mudallal and Mr Wright “have made enormous contributions to the ongoing success of our strategy, driving operational efficiency and positioning our business to excel.”

    p>He praised Ms. Wright's experience in “leading the transformation of global luxury brands.”

    News of the relationship between Mr. Al-Mudallal and Ms. Ashley comes amid speculation about how much Mr. Ashley continues to be involved in the day-to-day management of the business. He remains an adviser to Frasers Group and is credited with being the driving force behind recent acquisitions of rival retailers including Boohoo, Asos and Currys.

    However, in an interview with The Telegraph last year, Mr Murray insisted he is the decision-maker at the company, despite his father-in-law remaining Frasers' largest shareholder. Mr Ashley owns about 73% of Frasers.

    Mr Murray said: “Mike is not on the board. I sit on the board of directors along with the non-executive directors and we make decisions. You must be on the board of directors to make the final decision.”

    He said he led the betting but declined to comment on what the strategy was. Frasers also acquired significant stakes in model railway company Hornby and electronics retailer AO World.

    Last October, Murray said: “All I can do is talk about how it looks very obvious afterwards. [Luxury department store] Flalanels was an acquisition and it now seems normal that Flalanels is part of the Frasers Group. And the game, you think: why do you need to buy 30 computers of the game? After that, everything becomes very clear.”

    Scrutiny of the company's decision-making process came to the fore in March when Frasers Group placed designer brand Matchesfashion into administration less than three months after buying the business.

    Frasers bought the luxury online retailer in December for £52 million. Mr Murray said financial pressures across the sector were creating more opportunities, saying: “If you look at the global luxury goods market, you can start to see cracks in businesses that don't have as much financial strength. With a slight downturn in the market, suddenly opportunities will begin to open up.”

    However, last month Frasers said it had been forced to place the brand into administration amid unsustainable losses.

    >Frasers said that “for its restructuring would require too many changes and ongoing funding requirements would far exceed the amounts the group considers viable.”

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