James Daunt

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James Daunt
Achilles James Daunt

(1963-10-18) 18 October 1963 (age 55)
EducationSherborne School
Alma materPembroke College, Cambridge University
Occupationmanaging director, Waterstones
Known forfounder, Daunt Books
Spouse(s)Katy Steward
Children2 daughters
Parent(s)Sir Timothy Daunt
Patricia Susan Knight
RelativesAchilles Daunt (gg grandfather)

Achilles James Daunt (born 18 October 1963) is a British businessman. He is the founder of the Daunt Books chain, and since May 2011 has been managing director of the book chain Waterstones.

Early life[edit]

Achilles James Daunt[1] was born on 18 October 1963,[2] the son of the diplomat Sir Timothy Daunt and his wife Patricia Susan Knight. He was educated at Sherborne School, before reading history at Pembroke College, Cambridge University.[3]


His first job was as a purser with Carnival Cruise Lines.[2] After working in the US as a banker for JP Morgan, he founded Daunt Books,[4] a chain of six bookshops in London. In May 2011 he was appointed managing director of Waterstones by the company's new owner, the Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut.[5] The pair were listed at fourth place in a 2011 Guardian list of the top 100 people in the British books industry.[6]

Daunt was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2017.[7][8]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Katy Steward, a health professional, they have two daughters Molly and Eliza, and live in a 4 storey house in Hampstead.[9][10] They have a second house in Suffolk, and a third in Scotland.[10]


  1. ^ "Daunt Books Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Interview" by Oliver Shah in The Sunday Times Business Section, 22 December 2013, p. 6.
  3. ^ "Pembroke Gazette 2012" (PDF). Pembroke College. p. 120. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  4. ^ Kate Kellaway, "James Daunt: 'I don't recognise that books are dead'", The Guardian, 3 June 2011.
  5. ^ James Hall, "James Daunt parachuted in to run Waterstone's", The Daily Telegraph, 20 May 2011.
  6. ^ Books Power 100: James Daunt and Alexander Mamut | No 4, The Guardian, 24 September 2011.
  7. ^ Natasha Onwuemezi, "Rankin, McDermid and Levy named new RSL fellows", The Bookseller, 7 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Current RSL Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  9. ^ Eyre, Hermione (11 December 2014). "James Daunt: the man who saved Waterstones". Evening Standard. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  10. ^ a b Anthony, Andrew (27 May 2012). "James Daunt: the bibliophile who means business". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
Business positions
Preceded by
Dominic Myers
Managing Director of Waterstones
May 2011 -
Succeeded by