Theo Paphitis has called “I’m out” for good on Dragon’s Den after announcing he will leave the show.
The Greek Cypriot entrepreneur said he was sad to leave the hit show after nine series, adding “Thank you Auntie. I’m Out.”
Paphitis said he needed to concentrate more on his recent acquisition of Robert Dyas retail chain, his new lingerie brand Boux Avenue and the running of 240 Ryman stationery shops.
“The time felt right to give up my seat, stop breathing fire and allow someone else to enjoy the wonderful experience of being a Dragon on the BBC hit TV show, Dragons' Den,” said the former Millwall FC chairman.
“So, it just leaves it for me to say thank you to all past and present Dragons, the brilliant production teams that made the show what it is and of course the BBC for allowing me to participate in the first place.”
The show, hosted by Evan Davis, has propelled entrepreneur Dragons such as Hilary Devey and Duncan Bannatyne to fame.
Among its successes have been Levi Roots, who won investment for his Reggae Reggae Sauce and has gone on to found his own food empire.
Janice Hadlow, controller of BBC2, said: “I'd like to thank Theo for everything he has done over many years to make Dragons' Den one of the jewels in BBC2's crown.
“He'll be much missed, not only for his dragon-like ability to interrogate an idea, but also for the generosity of spirit he always showed towards any entrepreneur he thought was doing their best. He will be much missed in the den, and we wish him all the very best for the future.”