'A true retail pioneer': Penneys founder Arthur Ryan has died at the age of 83 2 weeks ago

'A true retail pioneer': Penneys founder Arthur Ryan has died at the age of 83

Arthur Ryan, the founder of Penneys, has died at the age of 83.

The Irish retail pioneer passed away after a short illness, the company has confirmed.

He founded Primark in 1969 and ran it as chief executive for 40 years.

He stepped down from the role ten years ago and became chairman.

Primary chief executive today paid tribute to Ryan, describing him as an innovator.

"Arthur Ryan was a truly gifted retailer and a visionary leader.

"He was a true retail pioneer. He innovated and was never complacent, despite many successes.

"He challenged us all to be the best we can be.

"His legacy will continue in the business that he founded and built.

"Those of us who worked closely with him will cherish his friendship and wisdom and he will be hugely missed by all of his Primark family.”

Dublin-born Mr Ryan was notoriously private and never gave media interviews.

The sad news of his death comes just one week after Penneys celebrated its 50th anniversary.

The very first Penneys store opened its doors on Mary Street on Dublin's north side in July of 1969.

The company has grown to now have over 370 outlets across 12 countries, including in the US, the UK, Germany and France.