After spending 26 years with George Fisher, the iconic outdoor retail store in Keswick, in the English Lake District, its managing director, Andy Airey, has decided to resign at the end of April. Stressing that this was his personal decision, the 55-year-old manager told us that he plans to spend some time with his family and friends - and doing things to get fitter - before looking at new career options.
Airey, who acted as chairman of the Outdoor Industries Association of the U.K. from 2001 to 2003, is well known in the sector. His store was the first retailer to join the European Outdoor Conservation Association in 2014.
Airey is leaving behind a very solid and profitable business at George Fisher, which has an annual turnover of more than £3 million (€3.7m-$4.3m), and a very strong and capable team. Two buyers, Lisa Bergerud and Jon Wickham, and Helena Whone, sales manager, will continue to work closely with Chris Tiso, chief executive of the Tiso Group, which took over George Fisher in 2007 and promoted Airey from buyer to director.
The Scottish group and George Fisher are controlled by JD Sports Fashion since 2013. Airy says there was no relation between his resignation and the departure last autumn of Dave Williams, the commercial director in charge of all the outdoor operations of JD, including Blacks, Millets and Ultimate Outdoor. George Fisher has been run independently of the rest of the group, and Airey is telling suppliers that there will be no change in its business model.