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|Sir Philip Green|
Green in 2007
|Born|| 15 March 1952 |
|Net worth||Gross: £5 Billion (2012)|
|This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2010)|
|Sir Philip Green|
Green in 2007
|Born|| 15 March 1952 |
|Net worth||Gross: £5 Billion (2012)|
Philip Green was born on 15 March 1952 in Croydon, in South London, the son of a successful Jewish property developer and retailer. He has a sister, Elizabeth, five years his senior. His family moved to Hampstead Garden Suburb, a middle-class enclave in north London, and at the age of nine he was sent to the now-closed Jewish boarding school Carmel College in Oxfordshire. When his father died of a heart attack, Green was in line to inherit the family business at the age of twelve. After leaving boarding school at 15, he worked for a shoe importer before travelling to the US, Europe and the Far East. It was on his return that he set up his first business with a £20,000 loan, importing jeans from the Far East to sell on to retailers in London.
In 1979, Green bought up the entire stock of ten designer label clothes sellers who had gone into receivership for extremely low prices. He then had the newly bought clothes sent to the dry cleaners, got them put on hangers, wrapped them in polythene to make them look new, and then bought a place to sell them to the public.
In 1988, he became Chairman and Chief Executive of a quoted company called Amber Day, a discount retailer. The shares performed well, but then suffered a series of profit downgrades and in 1992 he resigned when the company failed to meet its profit forecast. He has not led a quoted company since, instead working with other entrepreneurs, including Tom Hunter (a sports shoe millionaire and one of the richest men in Scotland) and the Barclay brothers, to help fund his entrepreneurship.
In the early 1990s, Green bought the department store chain Owen Owen which at the time had about 12 branches trading under the Owen Owen and Lewis's brand names. During his ownership, most of these department stores were sold to other operators including Debenhams and Allders or were closed, leaving only the Liverpool branch trading as Lewis's. In 2004 this remaining store was sold off.
In 1995, he linked with Tom Hunter to buy sports retailer Olympus as part of a merger. The price was £1, plus the assumption of £30 million in debt. Green and his partners sold the company three years later to JJB Sports for £550 million. Green walked away £73 million richer. That encouraged the Barclay brothers to back him in the £538m acquisition of the Sears retail chain (a different Sears from Sears, Roebuck and Company) in 1999. The subsequent disposal programme (including selling some of the assets, ironically, to Arcadia) raised £729m and confirmed his reputation as a man who could deliver exceptional results in the retail sector.
Green came to public attention in 1999 when he assisted Tina Green to make a £9-billion hostile bid for Marks and Spencer (M&S). However, the leaking of the bid forced up M&S's share price. The board of M&S were also hostile to the bid and sought to block it. Eventually, Green gave up and helped his wife purchase the ailing retail chain British Home Stores for £200 million. His takeover came when market opinion had dismissed the company as a failing brand and unfixable. Green put up £50 million of his own money and borrowed another £150 million to seal the deal. Green completely turned the company around and the chain is now[when?] thought to be worth over £1.2 billion. Since Green took over, profits have tripled to over £600m per year.
Next, Green assisted Tina Green in the purchase of the Arcadia Group, which owns well-known High Street chains such as Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Outfit, Topshop/Topman and Wallis in 2002. The company was briefly owned by Green but sold to Tina Green within 24 hours, with Philip acting as CEO.
Recently[when?] he had added the Etam UK chain to the group. Green paid £850 million, and repaid the £808 million he had borrowed to finance the deal in two years, a move that stunned commentators when it was announced.
On 20 October 2005, Green awarded Arcadia shareholders a £1.3-billion dividend.
In April 1980, Green registered a philanthropic initiative, the Kahn Charitable Trust, with a vision of "putting lost smiles back on the faces of less privileged persons across the globe."
In May 2007, after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal, Green donated £250,000 as a monetary reward for any useful public information. He also gave the McCanns the use of his private jet to allow them to fly to Rome for a Papal visit.
In 2010, Green donated $465,000 for new beds at the Royal Marsden cancer hospital, after his wife Tina’s mother died there. He also spent more than $150,000 for an Alexander McQueen dress at Naomi Campbell’s Fashion for Relief charity event.
Green has been described as "flash". For his son's bar mitzvah in 2005, he spent £4 million on a three-day event for over 200 friends and family in the French Riviera. He also hired Andrea Bocelli and Destiny's Child to perform. For his nephew, Matt, he threw a Bar Mitzvah at Madame Tussauds, where Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh were guests and One Direction performed. Matt and Chloe shared a birthday party in December 2011, at One Mayfair, where Rihanna sang, and many personal friends of the family attended. The star-studded bash was featured in The Sun and cost over £1 million. For his 50th birthday he flew 200 guests in a chartered Airbus A300 to a hotel in Cyprus for a three-day toga party, where they were serenaded by Tom Jones and Rod Stewart, who was reportedly paid £750,000 for a 45-minute set. For his 55th birthday he flew 100 guests 8,500 miles in two private jets from London Stansted Airport. They arrived at the exclusive Maldives resort of Four Seasons: Landaagiraavaru, an eco-spa on a private Indian Ocean island.
Among Green's more extravagant possessions are a 208 ft/£32 million Benetti yacht Lionheart and a £20 million Gulfstream G550 private jet. For his birthday, his wife bought him a solid gold Monopoly set, featuring his own acquisitions.
His tax avoidance dividend scheme was criticised by many publications as a return of the unacceptable face of capitalism. A number of tabloids made light of his invitations of many prominent Hollywood figures to his birthday parties - many of whom commented they had never heard of him.
Green is a big football fan and a Tottenham Hotspur supporter. In 1987, he suggested to Irving Scholar, the Spurs Chairman, that Tony Berry be appointed to the board. In 1991, he helped Terry Venables raise the last £500,000 needed to purchase shares in the club.
He is heavily involved with Everton Football Club due to his friendship with chairman Bill Kenwright, but has no intention of formally investing in the club. He arranged for another friend, Planet Hollywood's owner Robert Earl to purchase shares from former director Paul Gregg during a struggle for control of Everton in 2004. He offers business advice to the club alongside Tesco CEO Terry Leahy and helps negotiate player transfer fees with agents.
Two weeks prior to the 2010 general election, Green came out in support of David Cameron, George Osborne and the Conservative Party, stating that "[Cameron and Osborne] understand what needs to be done. They get it."
In August 2010, Green was asked by the recently elected Prime Minister, David Cameron, to carry out a review of government spending and procurement. Green's summary report, Efficiency Review by Sir Philip Green, published in October 2010, alleged significant failings in government procurement processes.
Taveta Investments, the company used to acquire Arcadia in 2002, is in the name of Green's wife, Tina Green, a Monaco resident, resulting in a significantly lower tax liability than the £150 million that would be payable if a UK resident owned the company. When Green paid his family £1.2 billion in 2005, it was paid for by a loan taken out by Arcadia, cutting Arcadia's corporation tax as interest charges on the loan were offset against profits.
Arcadia has been criticised for the pay and conditions of both overseas and UK workers by anti-sweatshop groups such as Labour Behind the Label, No Sweat and the student activist network People & Planet. Green denied Sunday Times allegations in 2007 that his firm used overseas sweatshops where workers in Mauritius were paid pitiful wages. In 2010, Green was again accused of using sweatshops – this time by Channel 4's Dispatches programme. It was asserted that he was using factories in Britain in which workers were paid less than half the legal minimum wage.
On 29 November 2010, concurrent to the protests against university fee rises and cuts, protesters occupied the flagship Oxford Street branch of Topshop, to highlight Green's involvement in the government spending cuts. They chanted "Philip Green's taxation could pay for education". Similar protests and occupations were set up at several stores owned by Green, including Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Leicester, York, Bristol, Portsmouth, Southampton, Newcastle and Cambridge. Arcadia shops came under major attacks during the TUC March for the Alternative demonstration on 26 March 2011.
Green has been criticised for what some see as an unduly aggressive personal style. He has a reputation for offensive language and in 2003 made a string of expletive-laden outbursts to the Guardian's financial editor, Paul Murphy. Green said: "He can't read English. Mind you, he is a fucking Irishman." He later apologised to the Irish, after customers threatened to boycott his stores.