Former CEO and managing director of Selfridges Roy Stephens, 85, dies in Connecticut hospital from coronavirus
- Roy Northway Stephens was living at New Canaan nursing home in Connecticut
- Passed away at Norwalk Hospital on April 14 after catching Covid-19 last mont
- At the peak of his career he became one of the giant’s of the UK retail industry
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
The former CEO of Selfridges has died from coronavirus at the age of 85, it has been reported.
Roy Northway Stephens, who had been living in New Canaan, Connecticut, U.S, for more than 30 years, passed away at Norwalk Hospital on April 14 after catching Covid-19 three weeks ago.
At the peak of his career, the ‘fun loving’ father and husband, who had also been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease nearly ten years ago, became one of the giant’s of the UK retail industry.
The former CEO of Selfridges Roy Northway Stephens, who had been living in New Canaan, Connecticut, U.S, has died from coronavirus at the age of 85
Mr Stephens, who was born in Paignton, Devon, went on to become managing director and CEO of Selfridges Department Store
While Mr Stephens was born in Paignton, Devon, in 1934, the former retail boss, whose father was one of the founders of the United Nations, spent much of his childhood in New York.
However he later returned to the UK after attending university in the Big Apple to fulfill his career ambitions and set about carving a name for himself in the retail industry.
It was at this point, the son of the late Reynolds and Ellen Stephens, made his way up the ladder in the world of retail and went on to become managing director and CEO of the iconic and world-renowned Selfridges Department Store.
The store, which is the largest retail store in the United Kingdom, first opened its doors in 1909 and went on to become a household name, with the founder Harry Gordon Selfridge, now immortalised by the TV show Mr Selfridge, chairing the company until his retirement in 1941.
Mr Selfridge invested £400,000 of his own money into opening the department store at the then-unfashionable west end of Oxford Street after visiting London from his native Wisconsin, U.S.
He was later portrayed in the ITV drama Mr Selfridge by the American actor Jeremy Piven.
During his colourful career, Mr Stephens, was able to conduct an array of civic activities and would meet regularly with business and governmental leaders, including members of the Royal Family.
The iconic department store in London first opened its doors in 1909 and went on to become a household name
The founder of Selfridges, Harry Gordon Selfridge (pictured), invested £400,000 of his own money into opening the department store
Mr Stephens is survived by his wife of 57 years Marjorie Stephens, his daughter, Cathy Kangas, his son Robert and their spouses Ed and Julie.
He also leaves behind his three grandchildren, Tyler, Nicole and Samantha.
A message on the Hoyt Funeral Care Home website reads: ‘Roy was a fun loving; gregarious; extrovert; who loved cruising; disco dancing, and had a passion and love for animals.’
A private service will be carried out for the retail boss followed by a memorial celebrating his life later this year.
Mr Stephens’ death comes as it was reported that nearly 2,500 Americans have now died of coronavirus in just 24 hours.
The increase in fatalities on Tuesday brought the total death toll in the United States to 26,094.
Harry Gordron Selfridge’s road to success
Harry Gordron Selfridge arrived to London from the U.S. in 1906 and set about trying to open his very first department store
He invested £400,000 of his own money in opening a department store at the then-unfashionable west end of Oxford Street
Mr Selfridge was able to turn the store into a cultural landmark in the capital and would place merchandise on display so that shoppers could examine it
From 2003, W. Galen Weston and his family have operated the company which has been named the Best Department Store in the World four times
With a keen interest in education and science, Mr Selfridge also decided to open his own school to offer the young boys and girls who worked for him a better education
The Selfridges continuation school opened in 1925 and catered for male and female pupils from 14 to 18, teaching a wide range of classes from reading and writing to cookery, cleaning and sewing