Arthur Ryan Primark

Statement on Penneys Founder Mr. Arthur Ryan

Dublin, 8th July 2019: Penneys/Primark is deeply saddened to confirm that Arthur Ryan, the company’s founder, Chairman and former CEO, passed away today after a short illness. Mr. Ryan was 83 years old.

Paul Marchant, CEO, Primark issued the following statement:

“We are greatly saddened by the passing of our founder and Chairman Arthur Ryan. On behalf of everyone at Primark, we want to extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Alma and his family at this difficult time. Arthur was a truly gifted retailer and a visionary leader. I was fortunate to work closely with him and experience first-hand his sharp mind and innovative thinking. Over the years we developed a very strong friendship, which I will always value and cherish. The company’s directors and employees, as well as those that worked with him over the years are deeply saddened by his loss.

“Arthur Ryan was a retail pioneer and a man of remarkable business acumen. At Primark, we feel very fortunate to have experienced up close his drive and passion for the business as well as his integrity, warmth and wonderful sense of humour. He was very generous in so many ways. He devoted a lot of his time to advise and connect people and he quietly supported people in the background in times of need.

“Despite his many talents and successes in life, Arthur always modelled great humility. He said that we should “remember who we are, challenge ourselves to be the best we can be, push the boundaries all the time and never be complacent or satisfied.”

“His words remain guiding principles at Primark today. Throughout his entire career he remained strongly connected to the customer and regularly visited the stores and walked the shop floors. Equally, he placed great importance on talent development and influenced so many careers, which remains instilled in Primark’s culture today. Arthur Ryan’s legacy will continue to live on in the business that he founded and built. He will be hugely missed by his Primark family.”

From George Weston, CEO of Associated British Foods:

“From the Board of ABF and on behalf of the Weston family, our deepest sympathies go out to Arthur’s wife, Alma, and all his family and friends at this very sad time. We will all greatly miss his larger than life presence, his sharp wit and his friendship.

“Arthur Ryan will be remembered as one of the great giants of retailing. When my Grandfather, Garfield Weston and Uncle, Galen Weston recruited Arthur to run Penneys in 1969 with only one store in Dublin, they knew they were hiring an exceptional trader. But what three generations of Westons learnt over the following decades was that Arthur was also a great leader and business builder, driven every day by a relentless desire to delight his customers.

“Arthur Ryan made fashion accessible to all and his legacy looms large. He built a phenomenal world-class retailer, the foundations of which will always belong to Ireland.”