British retailer Sir. David Jones died this weekend following a battle with Parkinson’s disease, his former employer Next confirmed. He was 76.
Next, the British fashion and home goods retailer, was near collapse when Jones took over as CEO and chairman in the ’80s. While not himself much interested in fashion, Jones had an eye for the bottom line. As Next costs spiraled, he closed 100 doors, cut staff and and reorganized management as a part of a restructuring plan — which helped the brand return to profitability.
Jones stayed in the role of Next CEO through the ’90s; he stepped down from the post in 2001 but remained chairman of the chain. Other positions he held include deputy chairman for Morrisons supermarkets and JJB Sports director.
“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,” Next wrote of its former boss. “David was a true friend of Next and our thoughts are with his family at this time.”
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Jones, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in his 30s and hid his affliction for years, died of complications related to the disease. In a 2005 autobiography titled “Next to Me: Luck, Leadership and Living with Parkinson’s,” he revealed the strategies he employed to hide his tremors in the boardroom.
Jones’ legacy lives on in Next, which remains profitable amid a difficult period for British fast-fashion. For the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2020, the retailer’s sales are expected to go up by 3.6%, with earnings per share increasing by 5.2%.