Philip Green

Philip Green
Sir Philip Green
Born 15 March 1952 (1952-03-15) (age 59)
Croydon, London, England
Occupation Businessman
Spouse Tina Green
Children Chloe and Brandon

Sir Philip Green (born 15 March 1952) is a British businessman. Green was born into a Jewish family in 1952, beginning as a businessman at the age of 15. The first and last quoted company Green took lead of was "Amber Day", from which he stepped down as CEO and Chairman in 1992. Since then he has had links to a range of British companies; including a hostile bid for Marks and Spencer and the management of the Arcadia Group, both alongside or supporting his wife. He has been involved in a range of controversies related to both his personal and business life.



Philip Green was born into a Jewish family[1] on 15 March 1952 in Croydon, in South London,[2] and 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, Philip 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.[3]

Amber Day

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.[4] 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.[citation needed]


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 within the retail sector.

BHS, Arcadia, Topshop

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 everyone else 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 £200 million per year.[citation needed]

Next, Green assisted Tina Green in the purchase 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 [5] within 24 hours, with Philip acting as CEO.

The Arcadia Group has been profitable, and currently has pre-tax profits of around £380 million per year.

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.

When The Guardian newspaper investigated a proposed takeover of Safeway in 2003, Green responded to queries about Arcadia's accounts by insulting and swearing at the journalists.[6]

On 20 October 2005 Green awarded Arcadia shareholders a £1.3-billion dividend.

Other activities

Green is a supporter of the Fashion Retail Academy[7] and the industry charity Retail Trust.[8] Green was knighted on 17 June 2006.

In May 2007 after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal, Green donated £250,000 as a monetary reward for any useful public information.[9] He also provided the McCanns with the use of his private jet to allow them to fly to Rome for a Papal visit.[10] Green intends to increase the reward money to £1 million for the safe return of Madeleine.[citation needed]

He was reportedly the BBC's first choice to front the UK franchise of The Apprentice; however during that period in 2004, he was too busy with Arcadia's attempted takeover of Marks and Spencer.[11]

Personal life

Green is based during the week at a London hotel, spending the weekends with his South African wife and owner of Arcadia Tina Green and their children Chloe and Brandon in an apartment in Monaco.[12]

Green counts as his friends, David and Simon Reuben, Lord Hanson, Philip Colbert, Tom Hunter, Mohamed Al-Fayed of Harrods, Bill Kenwright, David Goodman[disambiguation needed ], Simon Cowell, Michael Winner and the Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya.[12]

Among Green's more extravagant items are a 208 ft/£32 million Benetti yacht Lionheart[13] and a £20 million Gulfstream G550 private jet .[12] For his birthday, his wife bought him a solid gold Monopoly set, featuring his very own acquisitions.[14]

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.[15] 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.[16]

His business hero is the late Sir Charles Clore, who built the Sears Plc UK retail empire from next to nothing in the 1950s and 1960s.[17]

Football involvement

He is a massive football fan and is a Tottenham Hotspur supporter.[18] In 1987 he suggested to Irving Scholar the Spurs Chairman that Tony Berry be appointed to the board.[19]

In 1991 he helped Terry Venables raise the last £500,000 needed to purchase shares in the club.[19]

He was also involved in the transfers of Rio Ferdinand from Leeds United and Louis Saha from Fulham to Manchester United.[19]

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.[20] He arranged for another friend, Planet Hollywood's owner Robert Earle to purchase shares from former director Paul Gregg during a struggle for control of Everton in 2004.[21] He offers business advice to the club alongside Tesco CEO Terry Leahy and helps negotiates player transfer fees with agents.[22]

Sir Phillip Green is also involved with Watford due to his friendship with Watford chairman L. Bassini. He is due to help them redevelop Vicarage Road Stadium.

Political views

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."[23]

Efficiency review on government spending

In August 2010, Green was asked by the recently elected Prime Minister, David Cameron, to carry out a review of government spending and procurement.[24] Green's summary report, Efficiency Review by Sir Philip Green,[25] published in October 2010, alleged significant failings in government procurement processes, however it has been generally dismissed by the procurement profession as being ill-researched and of little real worth.


Tax avoidance

Green became the target of activist group UK Uncut in November 2010 for his history of corporate tax avoidance. The group targeted Green specifically as a Government advisor.[26]

On 4 December 2010 campaigners staged a sit-in at Green's flagship London Oxford Street Topshop store, and in Brighton a few glued themselves to the branch windows, while other high streets in towns and cities across Britain saw similar protests in a day of action against the tax arrangements of rich individuals and big businesses.

Green, the Arcadia retail group tycoon, became the focus of anger over the programme of government cuts that campaigners said could be avoided if tax dodging was stamped out, bringing in some £25bn a year to the public purse and reducing the national debt.

Taveta Investments, the company used to acquire Arcadia in 2002, is in the name of Green's wife, Tina Green, a Monaco resident, avoiding £285 million in tax that would be payable if a UK resident owned the company.[27] When Green paid his family £1.2bn 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.[28]

Excessive pay

Green has fallen under criticism for taking excessive pay, earned through his shareholdings in Arcadia. In 2005, he declared a dividend in Arcadia, in which he had a holding of 92% of the shares. This meant he earned £1.2 billion in a single year. Green defended himself by saying, "So far as I'm concerned we are in the risk business. We risk our reputation and our money when we buy things. We don't have a guarantee on the back we can get a refund when we haven't got it right."[29]

Worker rights

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.[30] Sir Philip Green denied Sunday Times allegations in 2007 that his firm used overseas sweatshops where workers in Mauritius were paid pitiful wages.[31] In 2010, Sir Philip was again accused, this time by Channel 4's Dispatches programme of still using sweatshops - in Britain, where workers were paid less than half the legal minimum wage.[32]

Involvement in government cuts

On 29 November 2010, following 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 Mr. 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.[citation needed]

Personal style

Green has been criticised for what some see as an overly aggressive personal style. He has a reputation for colourful language[citation needed] and in 2003 made a string of expletive-laden outbursts to the Guardian's financial editor, Paul Murphy. Mr 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.[33]


  1. ^ Walsh, Conal (25 July 2004). "How anti-semitic is the City?". The Observer (London). 
  2. ^ Brown, Jonathan (21 August 2010). "Sir Philip Green: Taxing issues for the rag trade king". The Independent (London). 
  3. ^ Vincent, Sally (23 October 2004). "How I did it". The Guardian (London). 
  4. ^ Blackhurst, Chris; Martin Tomkinson (27 September 1992). "Emperor in New Clothes". The Independent on Sunday (London). Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Days of anger, shouting, abuse and threats". The Guardian (London). 4 March 2003. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  7. ^ Butler, Sarah; Long, Carola (1 November 2006). "Students learn to sell fashion". The Times (London). 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Harry Potter Author Adds To Reward |Sky News|MADELEINE
  10. ^ Finding Madeleine
  11. ^ Randall, Jeff (13 June 2008). "The Apprentice is to real business what Monopoly is to property". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  12. ^ a b c Haynes, Deborah (30 May 2004). "Profile Philip Green The fastest billionaire is on his Marks". The Times (London). Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  13. ^ Philip Green's Lionheart Yacht - Luxist
  14. ^ Robinson, James (28 June 2009). "Sir Philip Green: man with a fine attention to retail". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  15. ^ "Billionaire hires Destiny's Child". BBC News. 14 May 2005. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  16. ^ Vasagar, Jeevan (12 March 2007). "Pack your shorts, it's time for Sir Philip Green's birthday party". The Guardian (London).,,2031683,00.html. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  17. ^ Entrepreneurs - Times Online
  18. ^ Peston, Robert Who Runs Britain pp.97-98
  19. ^ a b c Bose, Mihir (Telegraph). "Green oils the wheels of so many deals in football". London: 26 Oct 2006. Retrieved 14 January 2010. 
  20. ^ "Everton chief executive resigns". 30 July 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  21. ^ "Green at heart of Everton battle". 
  22. ^ Conn, David (14 September 2005). "Darkness returns to issue of agents' dual payments". London: Guardian. Retrieved 14 January 2010. 
  23. ^ Fletcher, Richard (23 April 2010). "General Election 2010: David Cameron 'gets it' says Sir Philip Green". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  24. ^ "Sir Philip Green to lead Government Efficiency Review". Cabinet Office. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  25. ^ Green, Sir Philip (11 October 2010). "Efficiency Review by Sir Philip Green". Cabinet Office. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  26. ^ Tayloy, Matthew (29 November 2010). "Philip Green to be target of corporate tax avoidance protest". Guardian Unlimited (London). Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  27. ^ Mathiason, Nick (27 March 2005). "Where the rich stash their cash". The Observer (London). Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  28. ^ "Analysis: The rich get richer in poor old Britain". Independent on Sunday (London). 19 March 2006. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  29. ^ BBC News, 'Arcadia nets Philip Green £1.2bn' (20.10.2005) BBC News Online, (see video for comments)
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^ Finch, Julia (5 March 2003). "Threat of consumer boycott leads to Bhs owner issuing apology to the Irish". The Guardian (London). 

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