Essex Life - - RICHEST 50 -

Com­put­ers 2018: £876m 2017: £860m (5th)

Sir Charles Dun­stone is not hav­ing the best of times. The Saf­fron Walden-born en­tre­pre­neur is un­der pres­sure from in­vestors in the TalkTalk broad­band op­er­a­tor that he chairs. There is even talk that he could be ousted ac­cord­ing to press re­ports. Dun­stone is of course best known for co-found­ing the Car­phone Ware­house op­er­a­tion with his former Up­ping­ham pub­lic school­boy friend David Ross. The pair set up the business from a Maryle­bone flat in 1989 with £6,000 sav­ings. Over the fol­low­ing 29 years few peo­ple can have been more in­stru­men­tal in mak­ing mo­bile phones and tablet com­put­ers ubiq­ui­tous parts of mod­ern life. A keen sailor, Dun­stone’s stake in Dixons Car­phone, cre­ated by a merger with Dixons Re­tail, is now worth £209m. His stake in TalkTalk, which was spun off from Car­phone and later floated on the stock mar­ket in 2010, is now worth £407m. TalkTalk has strug­gled since a high pro­file cy­ber-at­tack three years ago. With a rep­u­ta­tion as a fierce party thrower at his Hol­land Park pad, per­haps it’s no sur­prise that Dun­stone’s en­tre­pre­neur­ial ap­petites have also turned to food. He now has more than 70 Five Guys ham­burger restau­rants and he’s be­gun rolling out a sec­ond fast food chain known as MOD — Made on De­mand. This chain al­lows din­ers to de­sign their own pizzas, pick­ing ex­tra top­pings for no fur­ther charge. Dun­stone also owns 10% of Box­park, the fast food mar­ket in Croy­don. He has also di­ver­si­fied into prop­erty, in­clud­ing the on­line es­tate agent Hous­eS­im­ple. In all with past div­i­dends, Dun­stone should now be worth £876m after tax.

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