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We are delighted to announce that Sunday Times Business columnist Luke Johnson, the man behind the meteoric growth of Pizza Express in the 1990s, former Chairman of Channel 4 Television and current Chairman of Risk Capital Partners, will be the guest speaker at the latest in our hugely popular Entrepreneurs’ Question Time evenings.

Our six previous Entrepreneurs’ Evenings have all been tremendously popular. In each case our speakers have been people with enviable records of entrepreneurial achievement and busines success who have provided guests with a great deal of food for thought. This one will be no different!


A leading figure in private equity and the restaurant industry, Luke is the pioneer behind several instantly recognisable high-street brands. An Oxford medical graduate, he began his career as a media analyst at Grieveson Grant, before being appointed as Chairman of PizzaExpress PLC in 1993. The business grew from 12 to over 150 restaurants during his tenure. In 1999, he started Signature Restaurants, which owned The Ivy, Le Caprice and the Belgo chain, before establishing the Strada restaurant concept. The total proceeds from these two disposals were in excess of £90 million.

Luke is the Chairman of Risk Capital Partners, a private equity firm he co-founded in 2001, as well as Chairman and part owner of Gail’s bakeries, Neilson Active Holidays and Patisserie Holdings PLC. He also serves on the board of Brompton Bicycles and is chairman of the Gaucho restaurant business. He also chairs Brighton Pier Group PLC. He was appointed Chairman of StartUp Britain in 2012 and, a year later, he created a think tank called The Centre for Entrepreneurs. During his time as the Chairman of Channel 4 Television (2004 – 2010) the organisation enjoyed record ratings and revenues. He has also previously served as Chairman of the Royal Society of Arts and as a Governor of the University of the Arts. As well as being the Chairman of the Institute of Cancer Research and the Almeida Theatre, Luke writes weekly for The Sunday Times, and, until 2015, he contributed a weekly column to The Financial Times for seven years.

To register your interest in this event please contact Natasha Askaroff on

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