Theodoros ‘Theo’ Paphitis is a Greek Cypriots British retail magnet and entrepreneur born on September 14 1959, in Limassol, Cyprus. He is also an actor, author, and former chairman of Millwall Football Club from South East London. He was the clubs’ chairman from 1997 to 2004 and is best remembered for his work in reducing football hooliganism and guiding the Millwall football team to the FA cup final in 2004. His chairmanship ended in 2005 when he stepped down.
Theo and his family arrived in the UK from Cyprus while he was 6 and settled in Old Trafford before moving to Manchester, where they lived for three years. While there, Paphitis attended the Peacock Street Junior School. Later they moved to London while Theo was 9 years old. There he attended at the Ambler Primary School in Islington and Woodberry Down Comprehensive School in Manor House, where he battled with a reading disorder. While at Woodberry, Theo, then aged 15 runs the school’s tuck shop.
Following his first steps into the job market, Paphitis become a tea boy and filing clerk at a city of London Insurance broker but discovered his passion for retail and sales and moved on to his next job as a sales assistant at the Watches of Switzerland in Bond Street at the age of 18. After turning 21, with no qualifications from his school, he started selling commercial mortgages at the Legal and General, and there he learned more about property investments and how to read other businesses’ balance sheets. His business empire will be born from these endeavours.
Paphitis did not settle for selling mortgage but set up a property finance company with Mark Moran, his close friend and business associate. Their partnership dissolved when Mark left in collaboration with Hannover Druce, making him his first real fortunes with the 1980 commercial markets rise. Paphitis later bought into the NAG telecom company and became its chairman.
Before 2006, Theo Paphitis had shares in the UK and UK segments of La Senza, a lingerie brand, until he sold them for £10 million. Theo is also a chancellor of Solent University in Southampton since 2018.
Theo Paphitis Retail Group & Companies
With the right stepping stones for creating an empire, Paphitis bought his first full company, Ryman stationary. After it went bankrupt, he turned it around and started his reputation of turning around companies in trouble to successful and profitable businesses. He has added to his brand Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue, which he set up in 2011 as a lingerie chain which by 2018 had 30 UK stores in the UK and others abroad. Robert Dyas is a UK hardware retailer with 93 shops across Greater Britain and South East England selling houseware, consumer electronics, and other products both in stores and online. He bought the company in 2012 after it was put on sale in 2011. His further expansion to the empire includes the London Graphic Centre, which he acquired in 2016.
In 2020 he revealed that Boux Avenue, his famous lingerie brand among notable celebs like Megan McKenna and Mollie King, was having financial trouble as compared to his other brands. The Paphitis retail group was launched in 2015 and included retail, finance, property, and consumer goods products.
Theo also partnered with Peter Jones, the richest Dragon in Dragons Den, to buy Red Letter Day in 2015. He sold it in 2017 after another successful turnaround living up to his reputation. Other Dragons also include Sara Davies, James Caan, Kelly Hoppen, Tej Lavani.
Theo Paphitis dragons den
Before appearing in the Den, his first appearance on the screens was on BBC Back to the Floor series. He made it into Dragons Den in 2005 in its second series and stayed on until 2012. He made his announcement to leave in February 2013 but is still remembered as the Dragon that was approachable, straight-talking, but sincere. He left the Dragon to expand his growing retail empire.
While in the Den, he also had a three-part series on BBC called Theo’s Adventure Capitalists but his appearances on other BBC series included Famous, Rich and Hungry, and Britain’s Next Big Thing. His notable investments in the show include Present Club, a children’s gift site, Wedge Welly, a high-heeled welly boots company, and his most successful investment into Magic Board. He invested in 2008 along with Deborah Meaden, another dragon from the Den worth £100,000 with 40% equity in the company. The company offers portable whiteboard in a Rolland was founded by Neil and Laura, a married due that later gave a return of £800,000 to both Meaden and Paphitis to own 100% of the company.
In 2019 Paphitis stepped in for Touker Suleyman in Dragons Den after being off the show to recuperate from a minor illness. His reappearance was for the seventeenth series for four episodes.
Theo Paphitis net worth
Paphitis is worth £290 million as of 2020 and was ranked number 58 on the Sunday Times Rich List. If you want to know all the net worth of all the dragons, check out our article Dragons Den Net Worth – Who Is The Richest Dragon.
Who is Theo Paphitis
Though best known for being an entrepreneur, retail magnet, and actor, Theo Paphitis is also a writer with two books to his name. His work includes a memoir titled ‘Enter The Dragon: How I Transformed My Life And How You Can Too’, which is described as a must-read for all business students or business-minded people. He also has published Dragons’ Den: Success, from Pitch to Profit.
Theo is married to Debbie Stocker, and the two have been married since 1979 and have two sons, three daughters, and four grandchildren. One of his daughters, Zoe, is an actress.
The former Dragon was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Middlesex in 2009 and has a charitable trust called The Paphitis Charitable Trust. He distributes any fee he makes from his TV appearances, Speeches, and book sales to charities associated with children who are close to his heart.’