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Page 3 Profile: Theo Paphitis, retail magnate

Has he, God forbid, actually decided to invest in something?

Peter Jones aside, the business moguls in Dragons’ Den rarely require the piles of money placed on the tables next to them. For Theo Paphitis (and even more so for Deborah Meaden and Duncan Bannatyne), one rogue statistic in a presentation is proof enough that a business won’t be going anywhere, and he’s no stranger to the words “I’m out!”. But no longer will he have the opportunity to make or break young inventors on national television. After “nine intense and fun-packed series”, he’s leaving  the popular BBC show.

How come?

He wants to concentrate on his existing businesses and made sure to namecheck as many as possible in his departing statement: “This has not been an easy decision or one that I have taken lightly, but with the workload involved in growing my exciting, successful new lingerie brand Boux Avenue both in the UK and internationally, along with my recent purchase of the Robert Dyas retail chain and the running of the 240 Ryman stationery shops, the time felt right to give up my seat.”

Is there another Dragon in line to replace him?

BBC producers now have two seats to fill, as Hilary Devey has already announced her departure after signing a Channel 4 deal. Michelle Mone, the Scottish businesswoman who runs Ultimo bras, would be a popular choice, but if producers want to spice up the show they could go farther afield. What about Cecil Chao, the Hong Kong tycoon who offered £40m to any man who could woo his lesbian daughter? The ratings would soar.

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