Neil Fitton, former managing director of Chester Barrie and main board director of Austin Reed, has died after a 15-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 81.
Born in 1935, Fitton joined the menswear industry in the early 1950s as an apprentice at the Coops factory in Wigan, where his father worked.
In 1970 he joined Crewe-based Chester Barrie, which was then owned by its founders, the Ackerman family. As head of sales, the energetic Fitton built up a global network of stockists for the premium menswear brand.
In 1978 the Austin Reed Group bought Chester Barrie and Fitton was one of the few senior managers who was retained. He became managing director in the early 1980s and was promoted to the main board of Austin Reed.
He was an active member of the British Menswear Guild, the promotional body for premium UK brands.
He retired in 1993 and worked for a year as a sales and marketing consultant with Savile Row tailor H Huntsman. He is survived by his wife Joyce, daughter Jane and grandsons James, Oliver and Christian.