Death of director

John Barton, Scottish accountant, dies aged 77

John Barton, Scots-born chairman of fashion chain Ted Baker, has died aged 77.

Mr Barton, who once described himself as a “boorish Scottish accountant”, was a familiar figure in the boardrooms of several household name companies.

He recently stepped down as chairman of EasyJet after a tenure of almost nine years and was previously chairman of Next, Jardine Lloyd Thompson and Cable and Wireless. He has also been senior independent director of WH Smith and SSP Group.

He was named chairman of the Ted Baker board last year as the business was coping with the hit from Covid-19 lockdowns and the consequences of a scandal that forced its founder Ray Kelvin to resign.

Mr Barton was educated at Gordonstoun School and gained an MBA from the University of Strathclyde and in his long career he also sat on the boards of WH Smith and retail landlord Hammerson.

Rachel Osborne, Ted Baker chief executive, said: “John was a source of great wisdom for me and for so many of us at Ted Baker and we will hugely miss his support and guidance. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his wife, Anne, and their family.”

Speaking on behalf of the Ted Baker board, Helena Feltham, senior independent director, said: “John combined a generosity of spirit with insight, humility and humour and we will all miss him.

“He led the board with great skill and it was a privilege to have worked with him. Our hearts go out to his family.”

Ms Feltham will assume the role of interim chairman with immediate effect.

Former RBS CEO Stephen Hester, who succeeded Mr Barton at EasyJet, said: “John was a distinguished chair and made an outstanding contribution to the company during his tenure. 

“He was also a wonderful human being. On behalf of the board, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to John’s family at this difficult time.”

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