Jump to content

Philip Green

Page semi-protected
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Philip Green
Green in 2007
Philip Nigel Ross Green

(1952-03-15) 15 March 1952 (age 72)
Croydon, England
Years active1967–present
(m. 1990)

Sir Philip Nigel Ross Green (born 15 March 1952) is a British businessman who was the chairman of the retail company Arcadia Group. He owned the high street clothing retailers Topshop, Topman, and Miss Selfridge from 2002 to 2020. In May 2023, his net worth was estimated by the Sunday Times Rich List to be £910 million.[2]

Green was the chairman and chief executive of Amber Day from 1988 to 1992. In 1999, he acquired Sears plc. He bought British Home Stores (BHS) for £200 million in 2000, and subsequently spent £840 million to acquire the Arcadia Group in 2002. Arcadia became a private company and was delisted from the London Stock Exchange.[3] He unsuccessfully sought to acquire Marks & Spencer in 1999 and 2004.

At its peak, Green's Arcadia Group owned the clothing retailers Topshop, Topman, Wallis, Evans, Burton, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins and Outfit. BHS was part of Arcadia from 2009 to 2015. Arcadia had more than 2,500 outlets in the UK, concessions in UK department stores such as Debenhams and Selfridges, and several hundred franchises in other countries. After high street sales fell in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Arcadia entered administration and ASOS acquired the Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge brands in 2021.[4]

Green was made a Knight Bachelor in the 2006 Birthday Honours. He has been called the "King of the High Street" but has been involved in a number of controversies during his career, including his actions prior to the demise of BHS in 2016.[5]

Early life

Green was born on 15 March 1952 in Croydon, England,[6] into a middle-class Jewish family.[7] He was the son of Simon Green,[8] a successful property developer[9] and electrical goods retailer, and Alma.[8] He has a sister, Elizabeth, five years his senior. His family moved to Hampstead Garden Suburb, a middle-class area of North London, and at the age of nine he was sent to the now-closed Jewish boarding school Carmel College in Oxfordshire.[10]

When Green was twelve, his father died of a heart attack, and he inherited the family business. After leaving boarding school at 15 with no O-levels, Green worked for a shoe importer in East London[8] before travelling to the US, Europe and the Far East. On his return, aged 21, he set up his first business, importing jeans from the Far East to sell on to London retailers. The business was assisted with a £20,000 loan (equivalent to £216,000 in 2014) backed by his family.[11][12][13]

In 1979, Green bought up, at low prices, the entire stock of ten designer-label clothes retailers that had gone into receivership. He then had the newly bought clothes dry cleaned, put on hangers, and wrapped in polythene to make them look new, and bought a shop from which to sell them to the public.[14]

Business career

Amber Day

In 1988, he became chairman and Chief Executive of a quoted company called Amber Day, a discount retailer. The shares performed well, but then suffered a series of profit downgrades and in 1992 he resigned when the company failed to meet its profit forecast.[15]

Arcadia Group

Next, Green assisted his wife Tina Green in the purchase of the Arcadia Group, which owns High Street chains such as Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Outfit, Topshop/Topman and Wallis in 2002. The company was briefly owned by Green but sold to Tina Green within 24 hours, with Philip acting as CEO.[citation needed] On 30 November 2020, Arcadia Group went into administration after high street sales were adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.[16]

Charitable works and other activities

In April 1980, Green registered a philanthropic initiative, the Kahn Charitable Trust, with a vision of "putting lost smiles back on the faces of less privileged persons across the globe."[17]

Green is a supporter of the Fashion Retail Academy[18] and the industry charity Retail Trust.[19] Green was made a Knight Bachelor in the 2006 Queen's Birthday Honours "For services to the Retail Industry".[20]

In May 2007, after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal, Green donated £250,000 as a monetary reward for any useful public information.[21] He also gave the McCanns the use of his private jet to allow them to fly to Rome for a Papal visit.[22]

In 2010, Green donated $465,000 for new beds at the Royal Marsden Cancer Hospital, after his wife Tina's mother died there. He also spent more than $150,000 for an Alexander McQueen dress at Naomi Campbell's Fashion for Relief charity event.[23] In the same year, Green donated £100,000 to the Evening Standard's Dispossessed Fund which aims to support London's poorest people.[24]

He was reportedly the BBC's first choice to front the UK franchise of The Apprentice; however, at that time in 2004, he was too busy with Arcadia's attempted takeover of Marks & Spencer.[25]

Political activity

Two weeks prior to the 2010 general election, Green came out in support of David Cameron, George Osborne and the Conservative Party, stating that Cameron and Osborne "understand what needs to be done. They get it."[26]

In August 2010, Green was asked by Cameron, then recently elected as Prime Minister, to carry out a review of UK government spending and procurement.[27] Green's summary report, Efficiency Review by Sir Philip Green,[28] published in October 2010, alleged significant failings in government procurement processes. The government published the review identifying its main finding as "the Government is failing to leverage both its credit rating and its scale". Green argued that the report gave "a fair reflection" of government waste and inefficiency in practice, for which "very poor data and process" were seen as the main causes.[29] Cameron welcomed the report, saying "I think it's a good report, it will save a lot of money and it's important we do it."[30]

The report examined central government's procurement practice but also noted that "the whole public sector" could potentially benefit from better centralised procurement.[28]: 6 

Personal life

Green is based at a London hotel during the week, spending the weekends with his wife and their children in an apartment in Monaco.[31] For his 50th birthday, Green flew 200 guests in a chartered Airbus A300 to a hotel in Cyprus for a three-day toga party, where Tom Jones and Rod Stewart performed. For his 55th birthday, Green flew 100 guests 8,500 miles in two private jets to the Four Seasons at Landaagiraavaru, an eco-spa on a private island in the Maldives.[32]

Green owns a £100 million, 90 m (300 ft) Benetti Lionheart yacht[33][34] and a £20 million Gulfstream G550 private jet.[31] For a birthday, his wife bought him a solid gold Monopoly set, featuring his own acquisitions.[35]

Green is inspired by Sir Charles Clore, who built the Sears plc UK retail empire from scratch in the 1950s and 1960s.[36]


Green is a Tottenham Hotspur supporter.[37] In 1987 he suggested to Irving Scholar, the Spurs chairman, that Tony Berry be appointed to the board.[38] In 1991, he helped Terry Venables raise the last £500,000 needed to purchase shares in the club.[38] He was also involved in the transfers of Rio Ferdinand from Leeds United and Louis Saha from Fulham to Manchester United.[38]

Green is involved with Everton Football Club due to his friendship with chairman Bill Kenwright, but states that has no intention of formally investing in the club.[39] He arranged for another friend, Planet Hollywood's owner Robert Earl, to purchase shares from former director Paul Gregg during a struggle for control of Everton in 2004.[citation needed] He offers business advice to the club alongside Tesco CEO Terry Leahy and helps negotiate player transfer fees with agents.[40]


Tax avoidance

Topshop Oxford Circus damaged by anti-cuts protesters in March 2011

Green became the target of activist group UK Uncut in November 2010 for alleged corporate tax avoidance. The group targeted Green specifically as a government advisor.[41]

Taveta Investments, acquired by Arcadia in 2002, is registered in the name of Green's wife.[42] As a Monaco resident, the company faces a significantly lower tax liability than if she were a UK resident.[43] When Green paid his family £1.2 billion in 2005, it was paid for by a loan taken out by Arcadia, cutting Arcadia's corporation tax as interest charges on the loan were offset against profits.[44]

Links to Richard Caring

In December 2014, Michelle Young accused Philip Green, Richard Caring and Simon Cowell of helping her ex-husband, businessman Scot Young, to hide assets and so avoid paying maintenance to his ex-wife and their two daughters.[45] In February 2015, a note from HSBC bankers in Caring's files mentioned that Philip Green's wife Tina Green had been holding part of Caring's assets in cash on his behalf, prompting suspicions that Caring might have funnelled profits through Tina Green to avoid paying taxes on his assets.[46]

Worker rights

Arcadia has been criticised for the pay and conditions of both overseas and UK workers by anti-sweatshop groups such as Labour Behind the Label, No Sweat and the student activist network People & Planet.[47] Green denied allegations in The Sunday Times made during 2007 that his firm used overseas sweatshops where workers in Mauritius were paid pitiful wages.[48]

In 2010, Green was again accused of using sweatshops, this time by Channel 4's Dispatches programme. It was asserted that he was using factories in Britain in which workers were paid less than half the legal minimum wage.[49]

Anti-Irish outburst

When The Guardian newspaper investigated a proposed takeover of Safeway in 2003, Green responded to queries about Arcadia's accounts by insulting and swearing at the journalists, asking them "Is this The Beano or The Guardian?".[50]

Of The Guardian's financial editor, Paul Murphy. Green said: "He can't read English. Mind you, he is a fucking Irishman." Green issued an apology to the Irish later, to prevent a customer boycott, according to The Guardian.[51]

Demise of BHS

Advertising the closing down sale for a London branch of BHS

Green bought BHS for £200m in 2000, but the firm performed poorly so he sold it for just £1 in 2015. By April 2016 BHS had debts of £1.3bn, including a pensions deficit of £571m.[52] Despite the deficit of £571m, Green and his family collected £586m in dividends, rental payments and interest on loans during their 15-year ownership of the retailer. Referring to the conduct of Green, Angela Eagle, the shadow business secretary, said: "In this situation it appears this owner extracted hundreds of millions of pounds from the business and walked away to his favourite tax haven, leaving the Pension Protection Scheme to pick up the bill."[53] Simon Walker, the Director General of the Institute of Directors, described Green's "lamentable failure of behaviour" which was deeply damaging to the reputation of business. He then added that he had moral responsibilities to the pension fund and a proper investigation was needed but not one that took years.[54] It took months for the negotiation to be settled down; it ended with Green agreeing to a voluntary settlement of £363m into the scheme.[55]

Appearance before joint Select Committee meeting

A few days before a scheduled joint meeting of the Business and Work and Pensions Select Committees of the House of Commons for an inquiry into the controversial sale of BHS, Green called the inquiry biased, and wrote to Frank Field, the chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, "I therefore require you to resign immediately from this inquiry." Field pointed out that the size of the pensions deficit is a fact, not a matter of opinion, and that Parliament and not Green decides who chairs Committees.[56]


In 2016, the House of Commons approved a motion asking the Honours Forfeiture Committee to recommend Green's knighthood be "cancelled and annulled". One hundred MPs voted in favour of the motion, the first time MPs have proposed someone be stripped of a knighthood.[57] The vote was not binding on the government. Following his paying £363m into the BHS pension scheme in 2017, and a decision in 2018 not to ban him from being a company director,[58] it appeared that he would not be stripped of his knighthood.[59]

Sexual harassment and bullying allegations

In October 2018, The Daily Telegraph reported that "a leading businessman has been granted an injunction against" the newspaper to stop the "newspaper revealing alleged sexual harassment and racial abuse of staff". The following day, in the House of Lords, Labour peer Peter Hain exercised parliamentary privilege to name Green as the subject of the allegations.[60] The Telegraph said that the allegations would "reignite the #MeToo movement against the mistreatment of women, minorities and others by powerful employers.[citation needed] Opposition MPs, including Labour MPs Frank Field and Jess Phillips, and Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable, called for a revocation of Green's knighthood.

In May 2019, Green was charged with four counts of misdemeanor assault in the US after an Arizona Pilates teacher accused him of frequently touching her inappropriately.[61]


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and COVID-19 recession, Green's Arcadia Group closed 550 stores in the UK, furloughing 14,500 of its workers in the process. Arcadia Group publicly requested taxpayer help to cover the pay of the furloughed workers.[62]


  1. ^ "Green, Sir Philip". Who's Who. A & C Black. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U44331. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ "Sir Philip and Lady Green net worth — Sunday Times Rich List 2023". The Sunday Times. 19 May 2023. Archived from the original on 19 May 2023.
  3. ^ Arcadia History Archived 9 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Butler, Sarah; Partridge, Joanna (30 November 2020). "Philip Green's Arcadia Group collapses into administration". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  5. ^ "Sir Philip Green: From 'king of the High Street' to 'unacceptable face of capitalism'". BBC News. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  6. ^ Brown, Jonathan (21 August 2010). "Sir Philip Green: Taxing issues for the rag trade king". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 26 May 2022.
  7. ^ "Philip Green gives £4 million party for his son's bar mitzvah… but no present". The Daily Telegraph. 15 May 2005. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  8. ^ a b c Jolly, Jasper (30 November 2020). "Timeline: the rise and fall of Philip Green". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  9. ^ The Independent: "Sir Philip Green, the maverick taking the High Street to Broadway" By William Langley 4 April 2009
  10. ^ "Philip Green on building a retail empire: 'I don't regret anything I haven't done'". Financial Times, 18 September 2015
  11. ^ China Influence. "The Brits that Changed China". Archived from the original on 21 February 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016. Phillip Green.
  12. ^ Felsted, Andrea; Hill, Andrew (18 September 2015). "Interview: Philip Green". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 10 December 2022.
  13. ^ "Inflation Calculator". Bank of England. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  14. ^ Vincent, Sally (23 October 2004). "How I did it". The Guardian. London, UK.
  15. ^ Blackhurst, Chris; Martin Tomkinson (27 September 1992). "Emperor in New Clothes". The Independent on Sunday. London. Archived from the original on 16 August 2010. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  16. ^ "Topshop owner Arcadia goes into administration". BBC News. 30 November 2020. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  17. ^ "KAHN CHARITABLE TRUST | Charities Ka to Kd". Divide.org.uk. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  18. ^ Butler, Sarah; Long, Carola (1 November 2006). "Students learn to sell fashion". The Times. London.
  19. ^ Shields, Amy (27 January 2009). "Retail Trust raises over £1m". Retail Week. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  20. ^ "No. 58014". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 June 2006. p. 1.
  21. ^ Harry Potter Author Adds To Reward |Sky News|MADELEINE Archived 15 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Finding Madeleine". Findmadeleine.com. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  23. ^ "Society: Fashion: Sir Philip Green". W Magazine. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  24. ^ Chris Blackhurst (29 July 2010). "Topshop boss Sir Philip Green gives £100,000 to help London's Dispossessed". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  25. ^ Randall, Jeff (13 June 2008). "The Apprentice is to real business what Monopoly is to property". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. Archived from the original on 14 June 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  26. ^ Fletcher, Richard (23 April 2010). "General Election 2010: David Cameron 'gets it'by giving tax cuts to the tax i cant dodge says Sir Philip Green". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK.
  27. ^ "Sir Philip Green to lead Government Efficiency Review". Cabinet Office. 11 October 2010. Archived from the original on 12 October 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  28. ^ a b Green, Sir Philip (11 October 2010). "Efficiency Review by Sir Philip Green" (PDF). Cabinet Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 October 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  29. ^ Efficiency review by Sir Philip Green: key findings and recommendations, published 11 October 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2016
  30. ^ Government Efficiency Review published, published 11 October 2010; retrieved 22 September 2016.
  31. ^ a b "Profile Philip Green The fastest billionaire is on his Marks". The Times. London, UK. 30 May 2004. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  32. ^ Vasagar, Jeevan (12 March 2007). "Pack your shorts, it's time for Sir Philip Green's birthday party". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  33. ^ Ruddick, Graham (8 July 2016). "Tina Green: Lady of leisure or 'blonde hurricane' of a formidable partnership?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  34. ^ "90m Benetti superyacht Lionheart delivered to owner". Boat International. London. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  35. ^ Robinson, James (28 June 2009). "Sir Philip Green: man with a fine attention to retail". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  36. ^ Martin Barrow (2 December 2011). "Entrepreneurs". The Times. London, UK. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  37. ^ Peston, Robert. Who Runs Britain. pp. 97–98
  38. ^ a b c Bose, Mihir (26 October 2006). "Green oils the wheels of so many deals in football". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  39. ^ "Everton chief executive resigns". BBC. 30 July 2008. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  40. ^ Conn, David (14 September 2005). "Darkness returns to issue of agents' dual payments". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  41. ^ Tayloy, Matthew (29 November 2010). "Philip Green to be target of corporate tax avoidance protest". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  42. ^ "Sir Philip Green's Topshop retail empire is actually owned by his wife Tina, a 'blonde hurricane' who designs interiors for luxury yachts". Business Insider France (in French). Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  43. ^ Mathiason, Nick (27 March 2005). "Where the rich stash their cash". The Observer. London. Retrieved 25 April 2009.
  44. ^ "Analysis: The rich get richer in poor old Britain". Independent on Sunday. London, UK. 19 March 2006. Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2009.
  45. ^ Gammell, Caroline (11 April 2011). "Michelle Young claims Sir Philip Green and Simon Cowell are helping estranged husband hide £2bn fortune". Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  46. ^ Leigh, David; Ball, James; Garside, Juliette; Pegg, David (9 February 2015). "HSBC files reveal mystery of Richard Caring and the £2m cash withdrawal". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  47. ^ "Topshop". People and Planet. Archived from the original on 27 December 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  48. ^ "Sir Philip Green rejects Sunday Times allegations over sweatshop labour". Abcmoney.co.uk. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  49. ^ Tarley, Rachel (8 November 2010). "Dispatches, TV review". Metro. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  50. ^ "Days of anger, shouting, abuse and threats". The Guardian. London, UK. 4 March 2003. Retrieved 25 April 2009.
  51. ^ Finch, Julia (5 March 2003). "Threat of consumer boycott leads to Bhs owner issuing apology to the Irish". The Guardian. London, UK.
  52. ^ "The demise of BHS on the High Street". BBC News. 25 April 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  53. ^ Graham Ruddick; Sarah Butler (25 April 2016). "BHS paid more than £25m to owner in 13 months before administration". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  54. ^ "Sir Philip Green accused of 'lamentable failure' over BHS collapse". The Daily Telegraph. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  55. ^ Butler, Sarah (27 June 2017). "Green's 'main purpose' in BHS sale was to avoid pension liability, says watchdog". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  56. ^ Chris Johnston (11 June 2016). "Sir Philip Green calls for Frank Field to resign". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  57. ^ Hughes, Laura. "'Sir Philip Green 'beat BHS black and blue' say MPs as they approve calls to strip him of his knighthood'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  58. ^ Angela Monaghan and Richard Partington (27 March 2018). "Philip Green escapes company director ban for BHS £1 deal". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  59. ^ Julia Kollewe (15 April 2018). "Philip Green defends his record on BHS". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  60. ^ Elgot, Jessica (26 October 2018). "Philip Green: I am not guilty of unlawful sexual, racist behaviour". The Guardian. pp. 1, 6. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  61. ^ "Retail tycoon Philip Green charged in U.S. with spanking pilates..." Reuters. 31 May 2019. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  62. ^ "Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group requests taxpayer help to pay staff amid coronavirus pandemic". Proactiveinvestors UK. 3 April 2020. Retrieved 12 May 2020.

External links