Theo was born in Cyprus in 1959. His business empire spans retail, property, finance and consumer goods. Having left school at the age of 16 with no qualifications due to his dyslexia, he began work as a filing clerk in a Lloyds of London brokerage.
Having realised very quickly that filing was not his forte, he left and took up a job working for Watches of Switzerland where he discovered his passion for retail. After several years the opportunity arose for Theo to return to insurance in a more customer facing role where he gained invaluable experience in finance and property.
Returning once more to his passion for retail he revived the fortunes of notable high street names such as Ryman, Partners the Stationers, Stationery Box, La Senza, Contessa Lingerie and more recently the home and garden retailer Robert Dyas. In addition, in the Spring of 2011 he launched what has now become the multi award winning, global lingerie brand Boux Avenue.
In 2015 Theo launched the Theo Paphitis Retail Group which encompasses Ryman Stationery, Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue. The combined group comprises over 350 stores and 4,000 employees who serve over 28 million customers a year.
Theo’s other passion, sport, led him to having 8 marvellous years as Chairman of Millwall Football Club, achieving promotion to the Championship and the FA Cup Final against Manchester United as well as qualifying for Europe. Along with football, Theo closely follows many sports and was co-founder of sports marketing company Movie & Media Sports in the late nineties. Theo has recently returned to the sports industry following the investment he made into MB Partners, the boutique sports management agency, where he is now Chairman.
In 2005 Theo joined the popular TV show Dragon’ Den and spent eight subsequent years as a stalwart of the show. Throughout the seasons Theo invested in numerous small businesses and helped fledgling entrepreneurs develop their businesses in a wide variety of industries from consumer goods to online antique valuations. Theo left the TV show in 2012 to focus on his expanding retail empire.
Theo continues to make regular TV appearances and has a regular slot on The One Show as their resident business expert, providing his knowledge and experience to a variety of businesses throughout Britain. Theo is also a regular panellist on David Dimbleby’s Question Time and you can see him most recent appearance in February 2016 here
Theo also appeared on BBC’s ‘The Boss is Back’ in 2012 where he returned to Millwall Football Club to relive his time as Chairman of the club and to reflect upon how the experience changed both him and the club. To watch the Boss is Back please click here. In 2010 Theo also hosted a series entitled Theo’s Adventure Capitalists where he followed the fortunes of brave and bold British companies trying to expand into the dynamic emerging markets of India, Brazil and Vietnam in a four part programme. The first of these episodes can be found here.
In 2014 Theo appeared on the BBC’s Famous, Rich and Hungry as part of Sport Relief’s season of programming to highlight how for millions of people in Britain, going hungry is a very real issue. Theo put his life on hold to live with families who couldn’t afford to eat and had just 76p to spend per person per day on food. Click here to watch the programme
Finally Theo is hugely supportive of a variety of charities and initiatives close to his heart, including Comic Relief where he is a Director, the Theo Paphitis Charitable Trust and the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital of which he is a Patron. More detail about these charities and initiatives can be found on the Charity page.