Julian Richer

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Julian Richer
Born1959 (age 60–61)
EducationClifton College
OccupationEntrepreneur, author
Known forFounder and MD of Richer Sounds[1][2]
Net worthSteady GB£160 million (Sunday Times Rich List, 2019)
Rosie Richer (m. 1982)

Julian Richer LVO (born 1959) is an English retail entrepreneur, philanthropist and author,[3][4][5][6] best known as the founder and managing director of Richer Sounds, the UK's largest hi-fi retailer. Richer has gained a reputation for his motivational style of management and his philanthropic and charitable activities.[7]

According to the Sunday Times Rich List in 2019, Richer is worth £160 million.[8]

Early life[edit]

Richer was born in St Thomas' Hospital, London, in 1959. He was at UCS Junior School from 1968 to 1972 before becoming a boarder at Clifton College in Bristol between 1972 and 1977.[9][10] His parents both worked for Marks & Spencer before going on to work for themselves. His father, Percy, later qualified as a solicitor when he was 50.[11]


Richer's business career started at the age of 14 while he was still at school at Clifton College, Bristol, and he opened his first shop near London Bridge aged 19. This store in south London holds the Guinness record for the highest sales per square foot of any retail outlet in the world.[12]

Richer in the past advised some organisations including Asda on staff motivation, customer service, cultural change, communications and suggestion schemes. In March 2018 Marks & Spencer announced that he was advising them on cultural change.[13][14][15][16]

He holds 51% of the shares of Audio Partnership, an electronics company that designs, commissions and distributes electronics to countries around the world.

He was made the youngest ever Business Communicator of the Year for 1995.[citation needed] He has been awarded honorary doctorates by Kingston University in January 2002 and by Bournemouth University in 2003.[17]

In November 2013, Richer announced to the press that he would bequeath 100% of the firm to a trust co-owned by employees of the company.[18][19] In May 2019 Richer, then aged 60, announced that he had transferred ownership to employees by passing 60% of his shares to a trust[20], as well as separately paying each employee, excluding directors,[21] a thank you bonus of £1,000[22] for every year of work from his own pocket to his 500+ employees who had worked an average of 8 years each (circa £4 million).[23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35]

In 2019, Richer was awarded the 'Outstanding Contribution to Retail' award by Retail Week magazine.[36]

Charitable interests[edit]

15% of the profits from Richer Sounds are donated to Richer's charitable trust, whose main areas of support include human rights and animal welfare.[37][38][39] He also founded the charities ASBhelp, which supports victims of anti-social behaviour and ACTS435, which allows people to donate directly to those in need.[40]

He also founded Richer Unsigned, a not-for-profit designed to promote the best undiscovered music the UK has to offer. Richer Unsigned supports and promotes musicians who may just be getting started, who have been in the industry a while or simply don't have a great label deal. It currently has over 3,000 artists featured on its website.

In 2018 he funded TaxWatch which launched in October, dedicated to the research and exposure of aggressive tax avoiding corporations.[41][42] Richer was appointed as a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO) in 2007.[43]

In November 2019 it was reported in the Sunday Telegraph[44] that he was funding the Good Business Charter to encourage businesses to improve their behaviour, which was confirmed by Carolyn Fairbairn in a speech at the CBI's annual conference the following day.[45] It was launched on 3 February 2020.[46]

In January 2020, Richer launched Zero Hours Justice, a campaign designed to highlight the exploitative nature of zero hour contracts and ultimately, to seek a complete ban on them. [47][48] [49]

He is a vice-president of the RSPCA.[50]


Richer has written several books, including:

The Richer Way, which talks about starting a business and how to motivate a workforce by getting the best out of people. ISBN 978-0-9534415-2-5[51][52]

The Ethical Capitalist, which discusses the need for a new sense of moral purpose in business and how to make business work better for society.[53][54][55] This was a Financial Times book of the month.[56]ISBN 978-1-8479421-9-7

Personal life[edit]

Richer married Rosie, a fashion model, in 1982.[57][58] They live near York in North Yorkshire, England.[11][58]

Richer was baptised into the Anglican faith in 2006 by The Rev Cannon Roger Simpson at St Michael Le Belfrey, York and was confirmed later the same year by John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, in his chapel in Bishopthorpe Palace.[59]

In his spare time, Richer plays the drums in the soul/funk/pop group, Ten Millennia.[15]


  1. ^ "Richer Sounds founder hands over control of hi-fi and TV firm to staff". The Guardian. 14 May 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Ethical Capitalist Julian Richer gave staff richer pickings". The Times. 18 May 2019. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  3. ^ "'I did the right thing': Richer Sounds boss has no regrets". The Guardian. 18 May 2019. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  4. ^ Wood, Zoe (27 May 2018). "M&S boss turns to hi-fi entrepreneur to amp up profits". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Julian Richer – RSPCA". rspca.org.uk. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Founder And MD Of Richer Sounds at Business School". Durham University. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Home". Oxfam. 29 January 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  8. ^ Times, The Sunday (12 May 2019). "Rich List 2019: profiles 703–731=, featuring Ed Sheeran, Calvin Harris and Brian May". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  9. ^ John L. Thompson (2001). Understanding Corporate Strategy. Cengage Learning EMEA. pp. 431–432. ISBN 1-86152-755-1. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Jewish businessman hands control of £27 million company to staff". Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  11. ^ a b "UK: Ninety-five percent of this man's staff say they love working for him. What's his secret?". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Greatest sales per unit area annually". London: Guinness World Records. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  13. ^ "M&S hires Julian Richer to advise on workplace culture". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  14. ^ Wood, Zoe (22 March 2018). "Marks & Spencer recruits industry veteran to turn around food halls". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  15. ^ a b "M&S boss turns to hi-fi entrepreneur to amp up profits". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  16. ^ Shah, Oliver (27 May 2018). "Can Julian Richer change the fortunes of Archie Norman's M&S?". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0956-1382. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  17. ^ "Julian Richer's Honorary Doctorates". richersounds.com. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  18. ^ Kunal, Dutta (19 November 2013). "'I lack a spoilt child to run the business': Hi-fi tycoon Julian Richer to leave company to his staff". The Independent. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  19. ^ Jonathan, Moules (19 November 2014). "Richer Sounds business to be bequeathed to employees". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  20. ^ "A capitslism that makes everyone Richer – by giving it all away". The Times. 19 May 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  21. ^ "Richer Sounds boss wants to 'do the right thing'". BBC News. 15 May 2019. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  22. ^ "Music to their ears: Richer Sounds boss's move is warmly welcomed". The Times. 16 May 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  23. ^ Wood, Zoe (14 May 2019). "Richer Sounds founder hands over control of hi-fi and TV firm to staff". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  24. ^ "Richer Sounds founder hands business to staff". Financial Times. 14 May 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  25. ^ "Richer Sounds owner hands over control of TV and hi-fi retailer to staff". The Independent. 14 May 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  26. ^ "Vodaphone dividend cut is a cautious move, not cause for panic". The Guardian. 14 May 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  27. ^ "Richer Sounds founder hands control to staff". The Times. 15 May 2019. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  28. ^ "Why Julian Richer Gave His Multimillion-Dollar Firm To Employees". Forbes. 15 May 2019. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  29. ^ "Forget Uber, it's Julian Richer who has shown us how to save capitalism – by giving away his business". The Independent. 15 May 2019. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  30. ^ "Employee ownership can make societies richer". Financial Times. 17 May 2019. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  31. ^ "Richer Sounds founder on why he is giving away his millions". Daily Mirror. 14 August 2019. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  32. ^ "From rags to Richer". The Economist. 3 October 2019. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  33. ^ "When they go low, we go high (street)". 7 October 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  34. ^ "Vanessa Feltz: Boycott and Retailers". BBC. 11 September 2019. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  35. ^ Portas, Mary (16 December 2019). "Work Like A Woman: Good Business with Julian Richer". Work Like A Woman. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  36. ^ "Retail Week Awards 2019: Julian Richer wins outstanding contribution". retail-week.com. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  37. ^ "Which? names Richer Sounds and Toolstation as UK's best-rated shops".
  38. ^ "Richer Sounds – The UK's Hi-Fi, Home Cinema & TV Specialists!". richersounds.com. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  39. ^ "The Persula Foundation". Funding For All. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  40. ^ "High fidelity: Julian Richer rewards staff loyalty with holiday homes". The Independent. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  41. ^ Wood, Zoe (27 May 2018). "Richer Sounds boss launches crusade to expose tax avoiders". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  42. ^ Kinder, Tabby (28 May 2018). "Richer Sounds boss puts tax avoiders on the record". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  43. ^ "Richer, Julian". Who's Who 2019 & Who Was Who. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U32490. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  44. ^ "Hi-Fi entrepreneur Julian Richer bankrolls CBI Good Business Charter accreditation". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  45. ^ "A woke business gathering seems oddly in tune with Labour". The Economist. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  46. ^ "Richer Sounds founder's 10 corporate commandments for better behaved businesses". The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  47. ^ "Julian Richer's sound intentions". The Times. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  48. ^ "Richer Sounds chief Julian Richer takes aim at zero-hour contracts". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  49. ^ "One of Britain's most highly regarded businessman helping fund legal challenges by workers forced to accept zero-hour contracts". This is Money. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  50. ^ "Our patrons, vice-presidents and celebrity supporters – RSPCA". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  51. ^ "The Richer Way". goodreads.com. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  52. ^ Timpson, John (12 September 2010). "John Timpson: why I rate Richer Sounds". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  53. ^ "The Ethical Capitalist". goodreads.com. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  54. ^ "10 steps to top-in-class employee engagement". managementtoday.co.uk. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  55. ^ "Julian Richer: Britain's biggest small businessman". New Statesman. 7 September 2019. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  56. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  57. ^ "High fidelity: Julian Richer rewards staff loyalty with holiday homes". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  58. ^ a b "A vintage future". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  59. ^ "Julian Richer – what a Christian public leader". eauk.org. Retrieved 20 May 2019.

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