R. Stephen Rubin

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Robert Stephen Rubin (born December 1937), is a British businessman. He is the chairman, and co-owner (alongside members of his family) of Pentland Group, the holding company for a number of sporting goods companies, including Speedo and Berghaus, based in Finchley, north London.

Early life

Robert Stephen Rubin was born in December 1937.[1] After attending Canford School in Dorset, Rubin graduated from University College, London in 1958 with a degree in law, with the intention of becoming a barrister.[2]


After he unsuccessfully stood for the House of Commons at Streatham as a Liberal Party parliamentary candidate in 1959, aged 21,[2][3] he joined the Liverpool Shoe Company, founded by his parents, Berko and Minnie Rubin.[2][4] He was joint managing director with his father for 10 years until his father's death in 1969, when he took the role of chairman.[2]

Rubin transformed the company, renamed Pentland Group in 1973,[2] into the UK's largest sports apparel and footwear company,[5] owning a number of brands including Berghaus, Brasher, Ellesse, Hunter, Mitre and Speedo, amongst others. It is also the majority owner of JD Sports Fashion plc.[6] Its success largely came from an investment in August 1981, acquiring 55% of Reebok for $77,500. By 1983/84, Reebok accounted for 70% of Pentland's turnover. Pentland's shares rose from 55p at the start of 1984 to £3 at the end of the year and up to £10 in 1985, while profits rose from £1 million in 1983 to £12.9 million in 1985.[7] Rubin then sold off Pentland's stake in Reebok for $770m in 1991.[2][3][6]

Rubin was chairman and chief executive of Pentland until 1998 when he split his role and appointed his son, Andrew, chief executive, retaining the post of chairman.[4]

Rubin took Pentland private in 1999 to focus on longer-term investments.[5] However, it appears that City institutions were unhappy with the way Rubin was running the company, which had underperformed the market by 40% since it floated in 1989.[4] Rubin served as World Chairman of the Textile Institute from 1994 to 2006. From 1995 to 1998 and again from 1999 to 2001, he was president of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry.

Business interests



  1. Pentland Group plc.  Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Hall of Fame: Stephen Rubin. 26 November 2012. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sportswear veteran swoops again. 3 February 2011. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Concern as sportswear boss gives son top job. 4 September 1997. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Pentland's private route to 'best UK workplace'. 16 October 2003. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 About Us.  Pentland Group plc.  Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  7. A History of the London Stock Market 1945–2009.  Harriman House . ISBN 1906659621.
  8. http://www.ccj.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/CCJ-accounts-2017.pdf