The Business On... David Ross, Businessman
Friday 07 January 2011
The chap who founded Carphone Warehouse but left in disgrace?
Mr Ross might take issue with the disgrace bit. Having co-founded the mobile phone business with Charles Dunstone in 1989, Mr Ross spent almost 20 years building the business but had to step down when it emerged he hadn't told fellow directors he had pledged some of his shares against loans he had taken out. But while there was quite a row, the City regulator later admitted its rules hadn't been very clear and many other business folk conceded they had done the same as Mr Ross.
Still, it must have been hard
Indeed, especially since Mr Ross was forced to give up a number of other directorships too. And it marked the start of a difficult time. Last year it looked as if the banks were about to call time on Kandahar, his property empire, after it breached covenants.
Goodness, anything else?
Well, the case of the young Lithuanian woman – who told police she had been assaulted outside his Kensington home in the early hours of the morning after a Christmas party in December 2009 – made for some lurid headlines. Though Mr Ross has always maintained hewasn't home at the time, since he is a Conservative Party donor and friends with David Cameron, the newspapers had some fun anyway.
So it's all gone wrong then?
Don't be so sure: Mr Ross appears to be bouncing back. Yesterday, Kandahar announced the sale of Drake Circus, a retail investment it owned in Plymouth for £245m, far more than expected. The company says it's not a forced sale, but either way, it should get the banks off Kandahar's back.
What's he like?
Sociable and generous. His philanthropic ventures include sponsoring a school in Grimsby, where his grandfather made a fortune from the fishing business. Mr Ross still chairs Cosalt, one of the companies his grandfather set up. He's a patron of the arts too, sitting on the board of the National Portrait Gallery and hosting events at his stately home in Leicestershire.
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