Ronnie has also been appointed deputy chief executive of the retail group, with particular responsibility for sourcing and product development.
The group revealed Whelan has been appointed an honorary life president, saying it reflects his valuable contribution over the years. However, he will no longer be involved in the operations of the business going forward.
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. Retiring from the board and selling my stake in the business I founded has not been an easy decision, but it has been made easier by my confidence in the senior management team. I wish the company every success.'
However, Whelan could now face a Financial Services Authority investigation for possibly misleading the market by offloading his stake. In January, he told shareholders that he would not be selling any shares for the next year, saying he remains committed to the long-term future of JJB.