Theo was born in Cyprus in 1959. His business empire spans retail, property, finance and consumer goods. Having left school at the age of 16 with no qualifications, due to his dyslexia, he began work as a filing clerk in a Lloyds of London brokerage.
Realising very quickly that filing was not his forte, he left and took up a job working for Watches of Switzerland where he discovered his passion for retail. A few years later the opportunity arose for Theo to return to insurance in a more customer-facing role where he gained invaluable experience in finance and property.
Returning once more to his passion for retail he revived the fortunes of notable high street names such as Ryman, Partners the Stationers, Stationery Box, La Senza, Contessa Lingerie and, more recently, the home and garden retailer Robert Dyas. In addition, in the Spring of 2011 he launched what has now become the multi award winning, global lingerie brand Boux Avenue.
In 2015 Theo launched the Theo Paphitis Retail Group which encompasses Ryman Stationery, Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue, comprising over 350 stores and 4,000 employees who serve over 28 million customers a year.
Theo’s other passion, sport, led him to having 8 marvellous years as Chairman of Millwall Football Club, achieving promotion to the Championship and the FA Cup Final against Manchester United as well as qualifying for Europe. Along with football, Theo closely follows many sports and was co-founder of sports marketing company Movie & Media Sports in the late nineties. Theo also invested into MB Partners, the boutique sports management agency, where he is now Chairman.
Theo has been Chancellor of Solent University since August 2018.
Theo on TV
In 2005 Theo joined the popular TV show Dragon’ Den and spent eight subsequent years as a stalwart of the show. Theo left the TV show in 2012 to focus on his expanding retail empire.
Regular TV appearances currently are The One Show, as their resident business expert, and Question Time as a panellist. Other TV projects have included BBC’s ‘The Boss is Back’ in 2012, in 2010 ‘Theo’s Adventure Capitalists’, BBC’s ‘Famous, Rich and Hungry’ for Sport Relief.