Penneys founder Arthur Ryan dies aged 83

Founder of Irish clothing chain Penneys, Arthur Ryan, died following a short illness.

He was hired by the Weston family in 1969 to found the first store on Mary's Street Dublin. The chain has now more than 370 stores across Europe and the US under the name Primark.

Ryan was 83.

"On behalf of everyone at Primark, we want to extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Alma and his family at this difficult time," said current CEO Paul Marchant. 

"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.

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"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'.

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"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."