Charles Dunstone

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Charles Dunstone

Charles Dunstone.jpg
Dunstone pictured in 2005.
Charles William Dunstone

(1964-11-21) 21 November 1964 (age 56)
OccupationExecutive Chairman, TalkTalk Group
Years active1989–present
Net worthUS$1.4 billion (April 2018) [1]
Celia Gordon Shute
(m. 2009)

Sir Charles William Dunstone, CVO (born 21 November 1964) is the British co-founder and former chairman of mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse, former chairman of multinational electrical and telecommunications retailer and services company Dixons Carphone (formed on 7 August 2014 by the merger of Dixons Retail and Carphone Warehouse), and executive chairman of the TalkTalk Group.

Early life[edit]

Dunstone was born in 1964, in the town of Saffron Walden in Essex. Dunstone was educated at Uppingham School, an independent school for boys (now co-educational), in the market town of Uppingham in Rutland, in Central England. Dunstone's father was an executive at BP.[2]


Carphone Warehouse[edit]

Dunstone first began selling mobile phones out of his flat on Marylebone Road in 1989. He was 25 years old and had £6,000 of savings to start his business, having previously worked at NEC as a sales executive.

It was whilst working at NEC that he first spotted the potential of mobile phones and the future of mobile communications. At that time, handsets were large, cumbersome and mainly purchased by big business and large organisations. Corporate clients were well catered for but small businesses, the self-employed and general public had nowhere to go. Dunstone realised that mobile phones would eventually become ubiquitous and named his company The Carphone Warehouse (CPW) to serve this larger market.

In July 2000 the company floated on the London Stock Exchange and based on an Issue price of 200p, the company was valued at approximately £1.7 billion.

In 2003 Carphone Warehouse established a subsidiary TalkTalk, from the assets acquired through the purchase of Opal Telecom in 2002. TalkTalk provided homephone and broadband into the UK market. TalkTalk aggressive pricing was disruptive to the market and grew its customer base rapidly. Growth was also through acquisition, purchasing, AOL, Tele2 and lastly the Tiscali ISP businesses in the UK, this led to the demerger of TalkTalk as a separate business in March 2010.

In December 2019, Dunstone purchased £10 million worth of shares in TalkTalk, meaning he now owns 29.5% of the company's stock.[3]

In May 2008, Best Buy, an American multinational consumer electronics corporation, and CPW agreed to create a new company, Best Buy Europe. Best Buy acquired 50% of CPW's European and US retail interests for a cash consideration of £1.1 billion or $2.1 billion. The assets of the newly formed company comprise CPW's existing retail business, operating from more than 2,400 stores in nine European countries under CPW and Phone House brands. These include the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

CPW became the world's largest independent mobile communications retailer, but may now have lost this position.

In 2005 Dunstone's salary and bonus came to £689,000.[4] In the Sunday Times Rich List 2006 he was listed in 64th place, with an estimated fortune of £830 million.[5]

Dunstone employed the controversial ex-convict Ernest Saunders as a business consultant for Carphone Warehouse prior to its flotation.[6]


Non-executive director of HBOS PLC.[7] HBOS is the holding company for Halifax plc and the Governor and Company of the Bank of Scotland.
In 2005 Dunstone's fee was £56,000.[4]

The Daily Mail General Trust[edit]

non-executive director of the Daily Mail and General Trust.[7]
DMGT is one of the largest media companies in the UK and has interests around the world in national and regional newspapers, television, radio, exhibitions and information publishing.
In 2005 Dunstone's fee was £34,000.[4]

Independent Media Distribution PLC (now trading as Group IMD)[edit]

non-executive director of Independent Media Distribution PLC between January 2002 - May 2011[8]
IMD is a distributor of TV & radio advertising and for the television and music industries. Clients include ITV, MTV, L'Oreal and BSkyB.
In 2005 Dunstone's fee was £20,000.[4]

The Prince's Trust[edit]

Council Member of The Prince's Trust and former Chairman of its trading subsidiary, the Prince's Trust Trading Ltd.[7]
The Prince's Trust is a Registered Charity (in England) No 1079675. The Prince's Trust Trading Limited (a company registered in England No 3161821) is a wholly owned subsidiary and trades on behalf of The Prince's Trust. In their 2006 annual report, The Prince's Trust had a gross income of £56.8m and an expenditure of £40.8m.[9]

Get Connected[edit]

Sir Charles served as chairman from 2005 – 2012.


Dunstone has 3 A-levels, grades B,C & D.[2] He abandoned his business degree at Liverpool University after taking a gap-year with Torch Computers in Cambridge and then with NEC.[10]

Honours and awards[edit]

In 2005 Dunstone was awarded The Daily Telegraph's Business Person of the Year.[11]

He made a Knight Bachelor in the 2012 Queen's Birthday Honours List 'for services to the mobile communications industry and to charity'.[12] In the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours List, he was appointed Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) for his work with The Prince's Trust.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Dunstone has established a charitable trust, which is the main sponsor of the Fulwood Academy school in Preston, Lancashire.[14]

He was also an early supporter of the Technology Trust, and has been an ambassador for the Blue Marine Foundation since 2005.[15]

Dunstone is married to Celia Gordon Shute, a public relations consultant.[16]

Dunstone is considered a member of the Chipping Norton set.[17] His hobbies include sailing, and he is the owner of the classic 64 m (210 ft) motor yacht Shemara. [18][19]

He has donated to the Labour Party and Conservative Party.[20]


  1. ^ "Charles Dunstone". Forbes. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b Davidson, Andrew (16 May 2006). "Dunstone drives into broadband". The Times. London. Retrieved 3 November 2006.
  3. ^ Charkham, Jonathan; Simpson, Anne (27 May 1999), "The Development of the Joint Stock Company", Fair Shares, Oxford University Press, pp. 44–50, doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198292142.003.0005, ISBN 978-0-19-829214-2
  4. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2005" (PDF) (Press release). The Carphone Warehouse. 2005. Retrieved 4 November 2006.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Sunday Times – Rich List". Sunday Times. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  6. ^ "Mobiles boss walks the polar walk and proves he is not all TalkTalk". The Times. London. 29 November 2004. Retrieved 3 November 2006.
  7. ^ a b c "Charles Dunstone". Entrepreneurs' Open Challenge. 2006. Archived from the original on 6 April 2009. Retrieved 5 November 2006.
  8. ^ "Sir Charles Dunstone". the marque.
  9. ^ "Extract from the Central Register of Charities maintained by the Charity Commission for England and Wales, Main Charity 1079675, The Prince's Trust". Charity Commission. 2006. Retrieved 5 November 2006.
  10. ^ "Dial M for millionaire". The Observer. London. 11 September 2005. Retrieved 3 November 2006.
  11. ^ Miller, Robert (22 December 2005). "Dunstone clinches best in business". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 6 November 2006.
  12. ^ "No. 60173". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 2012. p. 1.
  13. ^ "No. 61256". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 June 2015. p. B4.
  14. ^ "Academy boss makes rich list". Lancashire Evening Post. Johnston Publishing. 7 May 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  15. ^ "The Marque - Sir Charles Dunstone's Profile". Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  16. ^ Quinn, James (10 October 2009). "Dunstone becalmed for island honeymoon". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group.
  17. ^ Caroline Dewar (5 March 2012). "Who's who in the Chipping Norton set". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  18. ^ Tatler "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 August 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ Campbell, Stewart; Bonsor, Sacha (27 July 2015). "On board with Sir Charles Dunstone, owner of classic yacht Shemara". Boat International. Archived from the original on 26 November 2017. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  20. ^ The best connected man in business: Carphone Warehouse billionaire Charles Dunstone on Cameron, congestion and karma | London Life | Lifestyle | London Evening Standard