Frog Blog

TELL Series – Luke Johnson

Luke Johnson, Chairman of Risk Capital Partners and Patisserie Valerie, addressed the TELL audience at Deloitte on January 15th. Luke has 25 years’ experience building up businesses including Pizza Express, Strada, Giraffe and Integrated Dental Holdings, the UK’s largest dental surgery chain. Non-profit positions include Chairman of Channel 4 until 2010, and, currently, Chairman of The Institute of Cancer Research. Fed up with the under-representation of entrepreneurs in public life, he launched The Centre for Entrepreneurs last year. 20 maxims on entrepreneurship formed the centrepiece of Luke’s talk. He took the TELL audience on a whizz-bang tour of his various business ventures, including the agonies – like his catastrophic purchase of Borders in 2008 – as well as the ecstasies – taking the Pizza Express share price from 40p to £9 over the 90s. Backing intuition over methodology, Luke exhorted the London Business School MBA audience to start young, take the plunge and fail lots. ‘Sacrifice a life of security here at Deloitte’ he provoked, ‘for the satisfaction of victory should your initiative succeed!’ Entrepreneurs make us all richer, he reminded us; obsessive, restless and risk-taking they may be, but our continued prosperity depends on them. Find out more on the TELL website.

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