Born in Limassol, Cyprus on September 24, 1959, His family immigrated to England in 1965. He attended a local school in North London, where he gained an entrepreneurial interest at the age of 15, after working in the schools snack shop, selling confectionery finger-food, such as sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks.
At 16, he sought a job at Lloyds of London as a tea boy and filing clerk, which he later described as the worst job he ever had. In his search for a better job and looking to make more money he took a job at Watches of Switzerland, when he was 18. By the age of 20, he decide to move into finance and specialize in corporate turnarounds. In his quest to find a good paying job Theo remarked “no one would give me a job and I couldn’t understand how any of the half-wits that interviewed me got their jobs.”
In 1982, He formed a company with his close friend Mark Moran in the property finance business, the boom in commercial property market helped him amass a sizeable profit. Soon afterward Theo noticed a trend in the mobile phone market and bought into NAG Telecom, eventually becoming a chairman.
He used his financial position to negotiate a deal with Ryman Stationary, a company founded more than 100 years earlier, that had gone into receivership. Theo approached the accountants in 1995 and offered to buy the company. After acquiring Ryman, he paid off the suppliers and creditors and turned the company into a 350+ store chain, introduced a mail order catalog in 1996 and an online store and website in 1998. This venture has turned into a $250 Million (GBP) turnaround for Theo.
During this time, Theo spent eight years as Chairman of Millwall Football Club (The Lions), taking them out of administration and into a championship and eventually the FA Cup Final. His additional business ventures include La Senza, a lingerie company which he sold in 1996 for $148 Million (USD) , Contessa (another lingerie concern), and Partners Stationary. He also has acquired Red Letter Days, an ‘experience company’, that for a fee will give your gift recipient the thrill of driving a Lamborghini, play secret agent for a day, skydiving, or orbing.
Theo also has starred on BBC’s Dragons Den as a celebrity judge. The reality TV show invites entrepreneurs to come on and pitch their business ideas. The judges will select a winner in which they will invest money into partnering with the entrepreneur on their business venture.
Theo Paphitis is ranked 581st in the Sunday Times Rich List with a net worth of 135 Million (GBP), equivalent to about $200 million (USD). Theo attributes his success to common sense, and his favorite quote is: “KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid”. His view on business is: “There are three reasons for going to work, one to make money, two to have fun, and three don’t forget to make some money.” Theo Paphitis is also a philanthropist, giving generously to children’s charities.
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