James Palumbo, Baron Palumbo of Southwark
|The Right Honourable
The Lord Palumbo of Southwark
|Member of the House of Lords|
31 October 2013
6 June 1963 |
|Political party||Liberal Democrats|
|Occupation||Entrepreneur, Author, Peer|
|Net worth||£180 million (Est. 2013)|
James "Jamie" Palumbo, Baron Palumbo of Southwark is a British entrepreneur, author and member of the House of Lords. He was born in London on 6 June 1963 and educated at Eton College and Worcester College, Oxford. In 1991 he co-founded the Ministry of Sound, the London nightclub, which has since grown into a global music and entertainment business. He was listed in the Sunday Times Rich List 2013 in 434th place with an estimated fortune of £180 Million.
On leaving Eton in 1981 Palumbo travelled to California with a group of school friends to set up the English Butler Service. The business was a success, but the group didn’t have work permits. US attorney Randolph Fields helped Palumbo stay in the country. Fields subsequently returned to the UK with Palumbo who worked with him to obtain a license to fly a commercial aircraft across the Atlantic. The airline, originally called British Atlantic, was subsequently sold to Richard Branson and became Virgin Atlantic.
Ministry of Sound
The club, modelled on the Paradise Garage in New York, had a 24 hour licence and rode the wave of dance music then popular in the UK. Initially Palumbo lost control of the club to drug dealers, a fight to regain control ensued.
Since its inception, Ministry of Sound has expanded into a number of areas including recorded music, live events, digital media and merchandise. The business has also acquired a number of other electronic dance music brands including HedKandi, bought in 2006 from the Guardian Media Group for an undisclosed sum. Other imprints of Ministry of Sound Recordings include Euphoria, Global Underground and Renaissance.
Ministry of Sound employs 200 people at its London office based next to the club in Elephant & Castle. The group releases music in over 100 music markets internationally and stages 2,000 live music events per annum. Ministry of Sound Recordings has sold over 55 million albums and is the largest independent music company in the world. Its artist signings include London Grammar, Example, DJ Fresh, Wretch 32, Fedde Le Grand, Eric Prydz, Duke Dumont and Chris Malinchak.
Ministry of Sound has been at the vanguard of the digital music revolution with over 50% of its global sales now coming through digital platforms including Apple’s iTunes.
In 2001 Palumbo sold 16% of the business to 3i for £24 million. Palumbo stepped down as Chief Executive of the Group in 2008 and was succeeded by Lohan Presencer. Palumbo remains as Chairman of the Group.
In 1994 he launched legal proceedings with his sister, Annabella Adams, claiming his father had mismanaged the family Trust, set up by his grandfather Rudolph, a successful property developer. In 1997 his father resigned as a Trustee and new Trustees were appointed to manage the family affairs. In 2010 new proceedings were launched relating to another family Trust, this time with Annabella Adams and his younger sister Laura Tikoo. Again his father resigned as a Trustee and made a substantial contribution towards the children's legal fees.
Palumbo is friends with Lord Mandelson, the former Labour cabinet minister, to whom he loaned a chauffeur-driven car during the 1997 Election campaign, Simon Hughes, the former Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, whom he has supported since 1991 and Tom Sackville, the former Conservative Home Office Minister, with whom he worked on the Drugs Misuse Act 1994.
After the formation of the Coalition Government in May 2010, Paulmbo was asked by Simon Hughes to review the Party’s operations. Subsequently, he helped move the Party’s headquarters, and update its financial, IT, and marketing systems. The Lib Dem 2011, London mayoral election campaign was run from the offices of Ministry of Sound.
In November 2009 Palumbo wrote an article for the Daily Mail ‘Is Britain on the brink of a financial meltdown’ in which he speculated about the perilous state of the country’s finances.
Financial peril and moral corruption in the modern world was the theme of his debut novel Tomas, published in July 2009 .
Remarks made include;
“Absolutely amazing…it’s the most energetic, surreal and extraordinary novel I have read for a very long time…it’s really remarkable”, Stephen Fry
“In Tomas, Rabelais meets Tom Wolfe. Palumbo’s surrealist satire of the Age of Eurotrash is as grotesque as it is gripping”, Niall Ferguson
"A wild, weird, brilliantly inventive fable of our times – I loved it, should be on the long list for the Man-Booker prize", Peter James
“It’s unlike anything I’ve read in a long time. And that’s a good thing. I loved it”, Claudia Winkleman
“Either mad or genius or both”, Rory Bremner
"Is James Palumbo's novel Tomas a clever joke?" Sam Jordison - The Guardian
"A debut novel that explodes at full blast….Palumbo delivers a savage satire of the highest calibre", Monocle
“Snorting, wide-ranging, surreal…a satire that mixes fantastical imagery and the dislocation you find in J.G Ballard”, The Times Saturday Magazine
“The noises I made whilst reading this book frightened people on the train”, Noel Fielding
"Has cult written all over it, it’s slick, cool, funny and very readable", The Book Bag
“Picking up the literary baton of monomaniacal money lust, Tomas drips with disdain for the cancer of economic excess. Palumbo's first foray in to the world of words is a surreal, searingly critical search for a new messiah in a near-distant future”, Dazed Digital
“A fantastical, violent and very funny portrayal of a world obsessed by reality TV and the bloated bankers, Russian roubles, salacious socialites and filthy footballers that rule over it - rings with intense personal experience”, Asylum.co.uk
“A world so grotesquely decadent it might be considered comical, if it wasn't for the fact it so closely resembles our own”, 3AM Magazine
“It's as if Thomas Pynchon and Burroughs and Vonnegut got together and had a bastard love child... A book of furious, surreal satire of a colourful kind. It's wonderful to read this kind of book; I think it's a marvellous surprise from an unlikely source”, Stephen Fry 
Tancredi, a novella on short term thinking and opportunism in politics was published in September 2011.
- Ros Wynne-Jones, 2 November 1997. The Man from Ministry, The Independent
- Emination.co.uk, 10 January 2011. History of Ministry of Sound
- The Sunday Times 21 April 2013. The Sunday Times
- The Man from the Ministry, Independent
- James Palumbo: There's only money, sex – and music and mellowing
- Mark Banham, 15 June 2007. Ministry of Sound awards £7m media business to The7stars, Brand Republic News Releases
- Ministry of Sound
- How I risked my life kicking the drug gangs out of my club, by Ministry of Sound boss James Palumbo
- Ministry of Sound
- Dance isn’t Dead
- Ministry of Sound Events
- Club class: 20 years of the Ministry of Sound
- Ministry of Sound iTunes
- The Times
- London Evening Standard, 7 November 1994, Palumbo courts fresh battle against Jamie
- 1994 Legal Case
- Kate Rankine, ‘Daily Telegraph’, 13 September 2003, Business profile: Chairman with a passion for needlework
- Michael Seamark, ‘Daily Mail’, 28 July 2010, Lord Palumbo in fresh court row with children over “missing art worth £2m”
- Palumbo the Younger ready to make peace over a cuppa
- London Evening Standard, 12 May 1999, Mandy downsizes
- Wynne-Jones, ‘The Independent’, 2 November 1997, ‘The Man from the Ministry’
- ‘Daily Mail’, 28 June 2009, How I risked my life kicking the drug gangs out of my club, by Ministry of Sound boss, James Palumbo
- GQ Magazine - February 2013, http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/magazine
- The London Gazette: . 4 October 2013.
- Is Britain on the brink of financial Armageddon?
- Quartet Books
- jamespalumbo.com , ‘Tomas’ by James Palumbo
- James Palumbo.com
- Matthew Bell, ‘The Independent’, 9 August 2009, ‘There’s Only Money, Sex and Music Mellowing’
- Ros Wynne-Jones, ‘The Independent’, 2 November 1997, ‘The Man from the Ministry’