JJB Sports has announced that company founder David Whelan has disposed of his 68m share stake in the company, making GBP190m (US$373.7m).

He has sold the shares at a price of 275 pence per share to a joint venture vehicle formed by Icelandic financial group Exista and Chris Ronnie.

Entrepreneur Whelen, who also owns UK football club Wigan Athletic, has stood down from the board of directors as executive director of the company. He has been appointed honorary life president of the sportswear firm, but will cease to be involved in the operations of the business going forward.

Roger Lane-Smith, non-executive chairman of JJB, said: "David's resignation from the board signifies the end of an era for JJB. Having founded the company in 1971, Dave has overseen the growth of the company into one of the UK's leading high street sports retailers."

Whelan said: "I am extremely proud of JJB which has grown from a single sports store in 1971 to a leading high street sports retailer today. It has developed into a mature, market leading business and continues to go from strength to strength."

Chris Ronnie has been appointed as deputy chief executive of JJB, with particular responsibility for sourcing and product development.

JJB Chief Executive Tom Knight said: "I am delighted to welcome Chris Ronnie to the Board as deputy chief executive. Chris brings a wealth of experience from his many years in the sports industry and this will be of great benefit to the executive team."

Last week (6 June), JJB announced a 1.8% fall in like-for-like revenue for the 18 weeks to 3 June, without the large number of replica football shirts sold ahead of last year's World Cup tournament in Germany.