London’s one of the biggest business centres in the world, so it’s no surprise that the city has produced some of the world’s most successful, and famous, businessmen.
Estimated net worth: £3.1 billion
School drop-out Sir Philip Green made his first strides in the fashion industry when he was twenty-three; importing and selling jeans from the Far East. After a stint as Chief Executive at discount retailer Amber Day, Green purchased the struggling department store, British Home Stores, for £200 million. Using capital from the now thriving BHS, he set his sights on fashion giant the Arcadia Group and bought out the company for £760 million in 2002. The retail group, which consists of Topshop, Topman, Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge is now valued at over £1.9 billion – handy when you’ve been known to spend £6 million on your own birthday party.
Estimated net worth: £2.9 billion
Second in this list is one of the most globally recognised brand leaders, Sir Richard Branson. Branson began his career at just seventeen years old with his first venture, Student magazine. Over the course of the next three years he set up the Virgin record store and later a production studio, Virgin Records. The first release under the Virgin Records label was Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells which went on to reach number 1 and spent 279 weeks in the UK charts. In 1984, after thirteen successful years at the helm of Virgin, Branson made his first move to diversify the brand with the launch of commercial airline Virgin Atlantic. Today, his Virgin Group now includes more than 100 companies from Virgin Energy to the ambitious Virgin Galactic.
Estimated net worth: £900 million
The notoriously straight talking businessman and star of the BBC show, ‘The Apprentice’, Lord Alan Sugar, started his empire by selling car aerials out of a van which he bought with just fifty pounds of savings. Sugar went on to establish his first official business venture, Amstrad, in 1968. The company started off as an importer/exporter and wholesaler, but soon specialised in consumer electronics. By the early seventies, Amstrad had started manufacturing audio equipment with particularly low production costs which allowed them to significantly undercut competitors. Ten years later, Amstrad was doubling its profits and market value year on year. At its peak Amstrad was worth a staggering£1.2 billion.
Estimated net worth: £350 million
Before becoming a regular face on Saturday night television, Simon Cowell began to make his millions in the cut throat music industry. Cowell’s first job was in the EMI Music Publishing mail room where his father was an executive. He worked his way up the company ladder and was later offered the role of judge on the first series of Pop Idol in the UK. The Lambeth-born businessman has gone on to hone the television talent competition format with his X Factor and Got Talent franchises being sold in over fifty territories around the globe.
Estimated net worth: £220 million
David Beckham is one of the nation’s sweet hearts, having captained the England football team for six years but he’s also one of London’s wealthiest businessmen. Beckham might be best known for his ability on the pitch but his net worth hasn’t come exclusively from his right foot. He’s a spokesperson for countless companies including designers, health and fitness specialists and perfume and cosmetics manufacturers. What may come as a surprise is that almost a third of Beckham’s wealth has come from his Adidas endorsement, where he’s bound to a lifetime contract.
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