David Ross (businessman)

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David Peter John Ross
Born July 1965 (age 49)
Occupation accountant
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),[1] is an English businessman and one of the co-founders (with Charles Dunstone and Guy Johnson) of The Carphone Warehouse. A profile in the Sunday Times Rich List put his current net worth at £892 million in 2014.[2] However he is not listed as a British US$ billionaire by Forbes 2014 Billionaire list.[3] At the peak valuation of his business interests in 2008, Ross was one of the 100 richest people in the United Kingdom.[4]

Prior to Carphone Warehouse[edit]

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 his grandfather 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.[5]

Born in Grimsby and raised in Lincolnshire,[6] Ross was educated at Uppingham School, where he and Charles Dunstone became friends; and then studied law at Nottingham University.[7]

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."[8] On graduation from Nottingham University, Ross joined Arthur Andersen and became a chartered accountant.

The Carphone Warehouse[edit]

In 1991, Ross agreed to join Johnson and Dunstone, who was ploughing £6,000 of his savings into a business selling mobile phones.[7] 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,[9]

While Dunstone became the public face of Carphone, Ross (described by Dunstone as his "secret weapon"),[5] 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.[10] When Ross assisted 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 Guy Johnson most of the rest.[11]

Ross had been joint-Chief Operating Officer with Johnson from 1990 and 2003, whereas Dunstone, the clear leader of the company, stayed with the business that he still runs today, Ross started to give up his executive position from 2003.[11] Ross became deputy chairman in July 2005,[12] 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.[13][14] However, shortly afterwards, the Financial Services Authority admitted that its rules on the issue were unclear[15] and that a large number of other directors had used their shares in a similar fashion.[16]


Ross was director of ship supply group Cosalt, which was founded by the Ross family. He was Chairman, taking over that position from his father.[5]

Cosalt was put into administration in February 2013, passing a £51,820,225 pension deficit to the taxpayer backed Pension Protection Fund while allowing Ross to buy up the company's assets at "knockdown prices" and recover "far more of his money than anyone else."[17] The scale of the deficit was hidden from shareholders, as Ross had failed to produce accounts in the years prior to administration.[17] The administrators are PwC,[18] who sold the Ballyclare division of Cosalt to Ross[19] for £5.8m.

PwC were also auditors of Kandahar until 23 July 2013[20]

Other business activities[edit]

From 2001 until the events of late 2008, Ross was the chairman of National Express.[1] He also had directorships of several other companies, including publishing and newspaper group Trinity Mirror,[7] Big Yellow Storage,[1] ITIS and Intrinsic Value.[6] Ross was formerly a director of Frontiers Capital.[10] 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.[21] 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.[22]

Ross has recently resigned as Deputy Chairman of the Humberside LEP citing a lack of local business interests.[23]

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.[7]

Outside business[edit]


He is a member of the Conservative Party Leaders Group, having donated over £50,000 to the Conservative Party during 2013.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Ross is unmarried, and has a son, Carl, with Shelley Ross.[25][26][27] Ross's main residence is the 700-year-old Nevill Holt estate in Leicestershire, which he bought in 2000.[28]

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 the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to pursue the incident. [29]

Charitable, educational and arts[edit]

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.”[30]

Ross was appointed to the board of the National Portrait Gallery by Tony Blair in 2006;[5][31] and in the summer hosts the Nevill Holt Opera.[32] He is also a member of Nottingham University's Council.[33] 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.[34]


He was appointed to London United, by Boris Johnson, the body supporting the capital's bid to be a host city for the 2018 World Cup bid.[35]

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.[36] 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.[14][37]

Ross utilises his connections with Lord Coe 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.[38]

Currently in 2013, Ross is a member of the Commonwealth Games England board.[39] He is also a Non-Executive Director of the British Olympic Association.[40]

Ross sits on the Board of London Legacy Development Corporation which has responsibility for redevelopment of Olympic Park in Legacy mode.[41] This appointment was made by Ross's friend [42] and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson[43]


  1. ^ a b c "Authorised Biography – Debrett’s People of Today, David Ross, Esq". Debrett's. Retrieved 10 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "The Sunday Times Rich List 2013". features.thesundaytimes.co.uk. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  3. ^ http://www.forbes.com/billionaires/list/#tab:overall_country:United%20Kingdom
  4. ^ "David Ross: The tycoon who fell to earth". The Independent (London). 9 December 2008. Retrieved 13 December 2008. This year's Sunday Times Rich List recorded Mr Ross as the 87th-richest man in the UK with an estimated personal wealth of £873m. 
  5. ^ a b c d Wray, Richard (8 December 2008). "Profile: David Ross". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 8 December 2008. 
  6. ^ a b "David Ross, Esq". debretts. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d Farrell, Andrew (12 March 2009). "FORBES.com: In Pictures: Notable Drop-Offs". Forbes. Retrieved 12 March 2009. 
  8. ^ "Twenty Questions: David Ross, chief operating officer of The Carphone". The Independent. 12 July 2000. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  9. ^ The Phone House
  10. ^ a b Ramnarayan, Abhinav (8 December 2008). "Profile: David Ross". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 8 December 2008. 
  11. ^ a b Sabbagh, Dan (9 December 2008). "David Ross: glitz and glamour of the upper-class 'barrow boy' with all the right connections". London: The Times. Retrieved 9 December 2008. 
  12. ^ Wilson, Amy (8 December 2008). "Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross quits after disclosure failure". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 December 2008. 
  13. ^ Fletcher, Nick (11 June 2009). "Multi-millionaire entrepreneur David Ross sells shares in Carphone Warehouse and Big Yellow". The Guardian (London: GMG). ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  14. ^ a b "Shock exit of Carphone co-founder". BBC news. 8 December 2008. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  15. ^ "Ross set to escape action by FSA over disclosure - FT.com". ft.com. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  16. ^ "Executive used Barclays stake as collateral for loan from Citi - FT.com". ft.com. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  17. ^ a b "Go for gold!". Private Eye (1377). 17 October 2014. p. 29. 
  18. ^ "Cosalt Plc - in Administration". PwC. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  19. ^ "Press Release". PwC. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  20. ^ http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk//companysearch?disp=1&frfsh=1413735894&#result Companies House filing A2DSI6NL A21 31/07/2013 #367 Notice of Resignation as Auditors Section 516 Companies Act 2006
  21. ^ Ebrahimi, Helia; Wilson, Amy (8 December 2008). "Carphone Warehouse founder under fire over debts". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 December 2008. 
  22. ^ Kandahar portfolio draws to a close http://www.costar.co.uk/en/assets/news/2011/November/LIM-poised-for-Ipswich-as-Kandahar-portfolio-draws-to-a-close/
  23. ^ Ross resigns from HLEP http://www.thisisgrimsby.co.uk/support-Humber-LEP/story-18663396-detail/story.html#axzz2Q2mfcL85
  24. ^ http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/tory-donations-peerages-contracts.html
  25. ^ Kay, Richard (15 May 2006). "Mrs Lineker flies to mobile tycoon's aid". dailymail.co.uk (London). Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  26. ^ Alice Thomson and Rachel Sylvester (31 October 2009). "Phone tycoon David Ross has a strong signal: it's upwardly mobile". TimesOnline (News Intl). ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 10 June 2011. 
  27. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1093043/David-Ross-The-public-school-high-roller-lost-multi-million-pound-gamble.html
  28. ^ "Set the right tone". London: Times Online. 3 September 2006. Retrieved 8 December 2008. 
  29. ^ Edwards, Richard (2 March 2010). "David Ross: no charges over escort girl claims". Daily Telegraph. 
  30. ^ "About The David Ross Foundation". davidrossfoundation.co.uk. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  31. ^ "David Ross appointed to board of the National Portrait Gallery". 10 Downing Street. 17 February 2006. Retrieved 2 November 2006. 
  32. ^ "Opera Man". Forbes. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  33. ^ "Members – The University of Nottingham". nottingham.ac.uk. 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  34. ^ "Halfords back Flintoff and Dallaglio to boost pedal power – Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph (London: TMG). ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  35. ^ "Boris Johnson on London's role in 2018 World Cup bid". The Evening Standard. 30 June 2009. 
  36. ^ Oconnor, Ashling (21 May 2008). "Carphone Warehouse tycoon David Ross put in charge of Olympics purse". London: The Times. Retrieved 8 December 2008. 
  37. ^ "Carphone's Ross quits 2012 role". BBC news. 9 December 2008. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  38. ^ http://www.daventryexpress.co.uk/news/local/seb-coe-at-school-sports-day-1-5267416
  39. ^ http://www.weareengland.org/page.asp?section=66...Our..
  40. ^ http://www.teamgb.com/news/carphone-warehouse-co-founder-answers-call-boa-board
  41. ^ http://www.london.gov.uk/media/mayor-press-releases/2012/12/baroness-grey-thompson-dbe-appointed-to-strengthen-2012-legacy
  42. ^ http://www.standard.co.uk/business/cityspy/city-spy-better-leave-right-now-with-two-goody-bags-8347151.html
  43. ^ http://www.planningresource.co.uk/article/1162714/phone-boss-quit-locog-appointed-2012-legacy-board

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