John Barton, former president of easyJet and Next, dies at age 77 | Business


John Barton, president of the Ted Baker fashion chain and former president of easyJet and Next, has died.

Ted Baker said the veteran businessman, who was named non-executive chairman of the struggling fashion retailer last year, has died suddenly.

“John has been a source of great wisdom to me and to many of us at Ted Baker, and his support and guidance will be sorely missed,” said Rachel Osborne, Managing Director of Ted Baker, who has joined Group One. months prior to Barton’s appointment in April 2020. “Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to his wife, Anne, and their family.”

The 77-year-old resigned as chairman of easyJet last week, ending a nearly nine-year term during the most tumultuous time in the airline’s 26-year history .

Last year, Barton resisted an attempt to oust Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the airline’s founder and largest shareholder, who threatened to requisition a series of shareholder meetings after the coronavirus pandemic took hold. struck to force easyJet to abandon £ 4.5bn of Airbus planes it believed would bankrupt the company.

At an extraordinary general meeting, Barton tried to oust him, winning 58% of the vote.

“I am truly shocked and extremely saddened to learn of John’s passing,” said Johan Lundgren, general manager of easyJet. “I have been very fortunate to have worked closely with him over the years and have benefited greatly from his wise advice.

“He was a man of great integrity who was greatly appreciated and respected by everyone across the airline. On behalf of all of his former easyJet colleagues, we extend our deepest condolences to John’s family in He will be missed very much.

Stephen Hester, the former boss of the Royal Bank of Scotland who succeeded Barton as chairman of easyJet, said he was a “distinguished chairman who has made an outstanding contribution to the business” and that he was “also a wonderful human being”.

Barton spent 15 years on the board of fashion retailer Next. He joined as a non-executive director in 2002 and took up the post of chairman in 2006. He retired in 2017.

“John was a wonderful, wise and deeply insightful man whose calm common sense seldom went too far from his wry sense of humor,” said Simon Wolfson, CEO of Next.

“Working hard and never afraid to speak his mind, John’s moral courage, humility and resilience have served Next well in the best and the worst of times. He had the respect and the deep affection of those around him. I will miss him, as will his many friends at Next.

Barton has also served as chairman of insurers Catlin and Cable & Wireless Worldwide, as well as a senior independent director of the WH Smith chain of stores, the Hammerson real estate group and SSP, which operates the Caffè Ritazza and Upper Crust chains. in transport nodes.

Born in Lahore, Barton was educated at the Gordonstoun School and obtained an MBA from the University of Strathclyde. He was a chartered accountant.

“John has combined a generosity of spirit with insight, humility and humor, and he will be missed by all of us,” said Helena Feltham, Senior Independent Director at Ted Baker. “He led the Board of Directors with great skill and it was a privilege to have worked with him. Our hearts go out to his family.


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