Gieves & Hawkes chairman Mike Nicholson has died suddenly aged 56.
Nicholson was chairman of a number of businesses including Gieves & Hawkes, Wensum Tailoring and Prominent Europe, and had a varied and active career across luxury menswear and manufacturing.
After qualifying as an accountant with Whinney Mur-ray, Nicholson went on to work at the Vendôme Luxury Group. He held a number of senior posts in the UK, Japan and Hong Kong, including the role of managing director of Alfred Dunhill.
He became chief operating officer of Itochu Europe in 1998 until 2003, where he oversaw the development of all aspects of the conglomerate, from textiles to construction. While working for Itochu he became chairman of its subsidiary Prominent Apparel, advising the manufacturer on expansion into Spain and France and the purchase of menswear brand Chester Barrie.
He joined the board of the Gieves Group (now Gieves & Hawkes) in 1998 and became chairman. More recently he also took on the chairmanship of its associated manufacturing company Wensum Tailoring.
Nicholson was also a director of Walpole, the British luxury goods consortium, where he was spearheading plans to set up a craftsmanship committee.
Gieves & Hawkes chief executive Mark Henderson said: “Mike was an inspirational man with an incisive intelligence, a marvellous understanding of people, absolute integrity, great drive and a tremendous sense of humour. He was truly loved by all those who worked with him.”
Walpole chief executive Julia Karrich said: “Both on a personal and on a business front, Mike provided phenomenal support to me. He helped drive new membership at Walpole.”
Nigel Lugg, group chief executive of Prominent Europe, said: “Mike was a giant of a man in every way and a good friend.”
Nicholson leaves a wife and four children. A thanksgiving service was held in Odiham, Hampshire, last week.