Terry Matthews

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Terry Matthews
Born Terence Hedley Matthews
(1943-06-06) 6 June 1943 (age 71)
Newport, Wales, U.K.
Residence Kanata, Ontario, Canada
Citizenship Canadian, British
Alma mater Swansea University
Occupation Chairman of Mitel[1]
Chairman of Wesley Clover[2]
Net worth Increase $1.87 billion (2013)[3]
Title Sir
Spouse(s) Ann Matthews
Children 4
Trevor Matthews (b. 1982)

Sir Terence Hedley Matthews KBE, FREng,[4] FIEE (born 6 June 1943) is a Welsh-Canadian business magnate, serial high tech entrepreneur, and Wales' first billionaire.[5]

He has founded or funded over 80 companies in the high tech communications field, most notably Mitel and Newbridge Networks.

He is currently the Chairman of Mitel and Wesley Clover.

He owns the Celtic Manor and the Brookstreet Hotel.

Early life[edit]

Terry Matthews was born in Newport, South Wales, at what was then the Lydia Beynon Maternity Hospital. Matthews would later return in his adult life to encompass the manor house that housed the hospital within the Celtic Manor Resort.

Matthews grew up in the town of Newbridge, Caerphilly. He studied at Swansea University and received an honours degree in electronics in 1969.[6]


After an apprenticeship at British Telecom's research lab at Martlesham Heath, Matthews left Britain and joined MicroSystems International, a chipmaking operation affiliated with Northern Telecom (which became Nortel Networks) in Ottawa, Canada. In September 2014, he was appointed the chairman of the Swansea Bay City Region.


Matthews' first enterprise was started in collaboration with fellow Briton and Microsystems employee Michael Cowpland in 1972. To raise seed money for future enterprises they had planned, the pair intended to import and sell electric lawnmowers built in the UK. Conventionally and as well accounts by Terry Matthews the name Mitel is thought to be a contraction of "Mike and Terry's Lawnmowers".[7] However Cowpland is quoted as saying that it stands for "Mike and Terry ELectronics". This first endeavour was a fiasco; the shipping company carrying the first batch lost the container.[8] When the lawnmowers finally arrived, the ground was covered with snow in the Canadian winter and no one would buy them. Matthews later said "That taught me a key lesson — the importance of timing. The shipping company lost the lawnmowers! By the time they showed up no-one wanted them, as you can't cut grass when it's covered with snow."[9]

Mitel became a technology consultancy company run from home to the various companies around Ottawa's emerging high-tech district. Mitel's clients included the National Research Council, the Communications Research Centre, and a handful of pioneering start-ups including SHL Systemhouse which was later purchased by EDS and now is part of HP and Quasar Systems (now Cognos).[10]

Obtaining funding from a $4,000 bank loan and as well from their own savings and a group of angel investors (notably Kent Plumley)[11][12] the two developed a telephony DTMF tone receiver based on Cowpland's Ph.D. thesis. This was a major advance in the technology since they were able to sell receivers at a fraction of the cost of competing versions, while gaining returns of 1000%. Additionally, Mitel later became a chip manufacturer with the acquisition of the Silek foundry in Bromont, Quebec.

Later the pair realized that the then new technology of microprocessors and other semiconductor devices would make a similar change in the market for small PBXs. The SX200 PBX launched to immense success, being cheaper to purchase, quicker to install and far more functional. Mitel became one of the more successful manufacturers of small PBX systems and telecom semiconductors in the world, floating on the New York Stock Exchange in 1981.

Newbridge Networks[edit]

In 1985, British Telecom bought a controlling interest in Mitel. Cowpland would later form the company that became Corel and Matthews later founded Newbridge Networks.

In 1986, Matthews drove Newbridge to become a leader in the worldwide data networking industry, manufacturing data communications products, especially ATM devices and routers. In 2000 the company employed more than 6,500 employees with recorded FY 1999 revenue of $1.8 billion. Later in 2000, Newbridge was acquired by Alcatel[13] for $7.1 billion. Matthews' personal stake in Newbridge was valued at over a billion dollars, and as a result of the transaction he became the largest single shareholder in Alcatel.

Return to Mitel[edit]

In 2000, he reacquired the Mitel PBX business and company name, taking it private. He has invested heavily ($600 million by 2006) in Mitel to turn it into a broadband communications company. The company has made significant investments in enterprise Voice over IP telephony technology. Mitel's manufacturing business was spun off as BreconRidge. Mitel acquired Intertel. Mitel went public again in 2010.

Other businesses[edit]

  • Wesley Clover – Matthews is the founder and Chairman of the investment group. Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, Wesley Clover has offices in the United States, United Kingdom, India, China and Russia. Investments in Information and communication technologies, digital media, and real estate.
  • Celtic Manor Resort - Resort in Newport, South Wales
  • Brookstreet Hotel - Hotel in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
  • Kanata Research Park - Matthews company which manages some of the land and buildings in the Kanata North Business Park
  • March Networks - Provider of IP video solutions. Went IPO on 27 April 2005. This venture was the first successful high tech IPO in the Ottawa area since 1999.
  • Bridgewater Systems[14] – a software company enabling mobile service providers to personalize, manage, and deliver applications. Acquired by Amdocs in June 2011 for $215 Million
  • Ubiquity Software – Developer of SIP/IMS Application Server Software platform, which was acquired by Avaya in Feb 2007 for about U.S. $150M and is the basis of Avaya's next generation solutions.
  • Convedia – a maker of VoIP/IMS Media Servers, which was acquired by RadiSys in 2006 for $US 105 Million
  • Celtic House – Matthews and Roger Maggs co-founded Celtic House International Corporation (CHIC) in 1994. The objective was to invest in emerging high technology companies, primarily in the UK and Canada. In 2002, CHIC was re-structured to form Celtic House Venture Partners, a limited partnership owned and managed independent of Matthews.
  • Newport Networks - a maker of large carrier-grade session border controllers. On 18 March 2009, Newport Networks, with its two remaining employees, de-listed from the AIM. This is despite having announced twelve months earlier that the company had signed a major OEM agreement which was expected to substantially increase its product sales. The company has subsequently been wound up and liquidated
  • nTerop Corporation - Front line rich intelligence for safety, security and enforcement agencies.

Additionally, Matthews serves on the Board of Directors for a number of high technology companies and chairs the Board of Directors of Solace Systems,[15] and CounterPath Corporation.[16]


Although Matthews emigrated to Canada as a young man, he spends a considerable amount of time in Wales, working on such ventures as the Celtic Manor Resort, a leisure complex in Newport, near the south Wales coast, chosen to host the 2010 Ryder Cup[17] golf tournament. The Celtic Manor hosts the ISPS Handa Wales Open annually. The original Celtic Manor Hotel was formerly a maternity hospital and is Matthews' birthplace.

Matthews bought Celtic Manor in 1980, ploughing £100m into the project. Firstly the 19th century Manor House was renovated, while in 1991 plans were unveiled to develop two new golf courses and a convention centre between the manor and the River Usk. Matthews had become friends with golf course architect, the late Robert Trent Jones Snr, whose family roots were in Aberystwyth, Wales. Work began on the 'Roman Road' course in 1992, named after the main route connecting the former Roman fortress of Caerleon with the town of Caerwent, which crosses the land. In 1994 the 4,000-yard 'Coldra Woods' golf course was started, as well as the £10m golf clubhouse hotel. The Celtic Manor was Hotel of the Year in 2002, and won two European Design Awards in 2001 - one for the interior designers, Goff Associates, and one for its spa from the International Spa Association. Matthews commented that: "I think the resort can act as a magnet to draw new investment into Wales from across the UK and overseas. I did my best to put up a building that you can see from the West End of London and I didn't come far short of it!".


Matthews has been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Wales, Glamorgan, and Swansea, and Carleton University.[18]

In 1994, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

In 1998, he was elected in 2005 as a Fellow[19] of the Royal Academy of Engineering[20]

In June 2001, he was conferred the honour of Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours. He was knighted by HM The Queen at an investiture in Buckingham Palace.

In 2006 he was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Engineering) from the University of Bath.

In 2011, he was appointed Patron of the Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute at Cardiff University.[21]

Personal life[edit]

His daughter is Executive Director at Wesley Clover Parks. His youngest son, Trevor Matthews, is Founder and CEO of Brookstreet Pictures.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]