David Ross (businessman)
|David Peter John Ross|
|Born||July 1965 (age 48)
co-founder Carphone Warehouse
|Spouse(s)||ex-partner Shelley Ross|
|Children||One son, Carl|
David Peter John Ross (born 10 July 1965 in Grimsby, Lincolnshire), is an English businessman and the co-founder (with school friend Charles Dunstone) of The Carphone Warehouse. A profile in the Sunday Times Rich List put his current net worth at £710 million in 2013. At the peak valuation of his business interests in 2008, Ross was one of the 100 richest people in the United Kingdom.
Prior to Carphone Warehouse
Ross is the grandson of (John) Carl Ross, who created one of the UK's largest commercial fishing firms from the family business, and two listed companies: Ross Frozen Foods which he created; and purchase of the Great Grimsby Coal, Salt and Tanning Company (known as Cosalt), which was founded in 1873 as a cooperative that sold all the supplies needed to run a fishing fleet, listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1971. Ross put his hundred and forty year old family firm Cosalt into administration in February 2013
At the age of 16, Ross's father sent him to work on a building site in Algeria, which he later described as a defining moment "because it was so bad I knew I had to get away from it and be able to control my destiny." On graduation from Nottingham University, Ross joined Arthur Andersen and became a chartered accountant, staying there from 1988 to 1991.
The Carphone Warehouse
In 1989, Ross agreed to join Dunstone, who was ploughing £6,000 of his savings into a business selling mobile phones. They formed The Carphone Warehouse, in a flat on Harley Street, London, which four years later had grown to 20 stores. Now also trading as The Phone House, The Carphone Warehouse is Europe's largest independent mobile phone retailer.
While Dunstone became the public face of Carphone, Ross (described by Dunstone as his "secret weapon"), developed and drove the high street retail footprint of the company by buying Tandy in the UK, and developing The Phone House across Europe and the United States. When Ross led the IPO of Carphone Warehouse in 2000, it had been so successful that the partners had not needed to borrow or involve outsiders: Dunstone owned half, Ross a third, and business partner Guy Johnson most of the rest.
Ross had been joint-Chief Operating Officer with Dunstone from 1990 and 2003, whereas Dunstone stayed with the business that he still runs today, Ross started to give up his executive position from 2003. Ross became deputy chairman in July 2005, and by 2008 was a non-executive director. He resigned from Carphone Warehouse, National Express and Big Yellow in December of that year after using a large proportion of his shares in the businesses as collateral for personal loans without informing the companies, which is a breach of stock market rules. However, shortly afterwards, the Financial Services Authority admitted that its rules on the issue were unclear and that a large number of other directors had used their shares in a similar fashion. Owing to the confusion of its rules, the FSA subsequently cleared Ross and provided an amnesty to other directors during which they could declare their share arrangements without censure.
Other business activities
From 2001 until the events of late 2008, Ross was the chairman of National Express. He also had directorships of several other companies, including family founded ship supply group Cosalt (formerly chairman, a job he took over from his father), publishing and newspaper group Trinity Mirror, Big Yellow Storage, ITIS and Intrinsic Value. Ross was formerly a director of Frontiers Capital. In 2006, Ross set up a commercial property joint venture with investment bank Morgan Stanley, into which he injected his private property portfolio, Kandahar Real Estate Ltd, worth £243 million. Following the property market crash in 2008 Lloyds Bank took control of Kandahar's property assets and sold them all to clear Ross's debt. Kandahar is now involved in ventures outside property.
Ross has recently resigned as Deputy Chairman of the Humberside LEP citing a lack of local business interests.
Ross, who has a strong personal interest in sport, was also on the board of the reconstruction of Wembley Stadium; and was part of the consortium which rescued Leicester City Football Club from receivership, before it was later sold to Milan Mandarić.
Ross family company Cosalt was put into administration in February 2013. It passed a £51,820,225 pension deficit to the taxpayer backed Pension Protection Fund. The administrators are PwC. PwC sold the Ballyclare division of Cosalt to Ross for £5.8m..
Ross was a member of the Home Office Audit Committee and Lord Carter's Review of Legal Aid Procurement.[when?]He is a member of the Conservative Party Leaders Group, having donated over £50,000 to the Conservative Party during 2013.
Ross is unmarried, and has a son, Carl, with Michelle Ross. After the murder of his stepsister Fiona Marshall and her boyfriend Richard Flippance at the property in 2006 by her ex-husband Alex, Ross placed the property on the market for £7.75 million in 2008. Ross's main residence is the 700-year-old Nevill Holt estate in Leicestershire, which he bought in 2000. He has a further home in Kensington, London.
In January 2010 a Lithuanian escort girl claimed she was invited to Ross's home and then attacked during an argument about cash. Two months later Ross was cleared of any offence by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Charitable, educational and arts
Ross founded the David Ross Foundation, an independent grant-making foundation. The vision of which stems from its belief that “every child can do something well” and its “intention to help them discover their strengths by offering them a wide range of world class educational opportunities.” The Foundation is active in the arts, music and sport, but particularly education. Via the David Ross Education Trust, the Foundation has sponsored a number of schools to become academies. The first to do so was Havelock Academy in Grimsby, which was set up in 2007 Since then, Humberston Academy in Grimsby has joined the Foundation, as have the Malcolm Arnold Academy in Northampton and Cedar Road Primary School, also in Northampton.
Ross was appointed to the board of the National Portrait Gallery by Tony Blair in 2006; and in the summer hosts the Nevill Holt Opera. He is also a member of Nottingham University's Council. In May 2012, Ross participated in 'The Dallaglio Flintoff Cycle Slam 2012' charity cycle ride from Olympia, Greece to Stratford, London in aid of Andrew Flintoff and Lawrence Dallaglio's respective charities.
He also owns a collection of modern art.
He was appointed to London United, in a minor role, the body supporting the capital's bid to be a host city for the 2018 World Cup bid.The £19m bid failed with less than 10% of the vote being awarded to England. The tournament was awarded to Russia.
After Boris Johnson was elected Mayor of London, in May 2008 Ross was Johnson's nominee to the board of the London Organising Committee of the 2012 Olympic Games. He resigned from this position December 2008 in the wake of the same event that led to his departure from the board of Carphone Warehouse.
Ross utilises his sporting influence to provide opportunities for young children in academies supported by The David Ross Education Trust. Students at the sponsored academies have previously met sporting personalities such as Olympians Mark Lewis Francis, Andy Turner, Jazmin Sawyers amongst others.
Ross sits on the Board of London Legacy Development Corporation which has responsibility for redevelopment of Olympic Park in Legacy mode. This appointment was made by Ross friend  and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson
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- The Phone House
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