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Richard Allan Caring (born June 1948) is a British businessman, who is active in fashion, and latterly property and restaurants.

Richard Caring
Born
Richard Allan Caring

June 1948 (age 70–71)
Finchley, London, England
NationalityBritish
OccupationBusinessman
Net worth£650 million (2015)[1]
Spouse(s)Jacqueline Stead
Patricia Mondinni
Children4
Parent(s)Louis Caringi
Sylvia Parnes

Having supplied Hong Kong-manufactured fashion, and after surviving the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, he diversified his business interest into restaurants and nightclubs. Caring was ranked number 213 on the 2019 Sunday Times Rich List.[2]

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Caring was born in June 1948,[3] the middle child of three born to Louis Caringi, an Italian-American GI, stationed in London during World War II, and Sylvia Parnes,[4] a Jewish-immigrant nurse who met him in the ambulance on his way to hospital, and cared for him during his recovery.[5]

After deciding to stay in London after the war, the couple married. Caringi anglicized his surname and set up in the clothing industry in offices off Great Portland Street. Louis Caring Originals sourced knitwear for retailers including Marks & Spencer.[6][4]

Caring was brought up in Finchley, north London, and enjoyed playing Monopoly.[7] His sporting prowess at golf playing off of scratch,[6] resulted in him representing Middlesex at county-level, and being accepted into Millfield School in Street, Somerset on a 10-shilling-a-week sporting scholarship.[4][7]

CareerEdit

ClothingEdit

After recognising his talent at golf was not sufficient to make an income, Caring left Millfield aged 16 and joined a shopping centre development company as an office boy:[6][4]

However, the family business was in trouble. In the designer-led 1960s, Caring's father didn't understand fashion,[7] and the resulting losses in the business threatened losing the family home.[6] At the time, Louis Caring Originals had become a dress manufacturer that employed seven people. Caring had a girlfriend at the Royal College of Art, with whom he ran up a range of mini-skirts, selling them for 69s 6d (£3.475 in decimalisation), that cost £2 to make. With an initial target was 200 a week, after a few years they were selling 25,000 a week:[6][4]

In 1971 Caring first visited Hong Kong,[6] where labour and materials were far cheaper than in Britain.[4]

Until this point, Hong Kong made basic clothing cheaply, such as underpants. Spending a year living out of a suitcase and resident in one hotel, Caring educated local manufacturers through producing the same garment over and over again to get the quality right.[8] Resultantly one of the first western high fashion buyers to develop localised Chinese relationships,[9] he returned to the UK to sell the new high quality but cheaper garments to UK retailers.[6]

Forming International Clothing Designs (ICD) to exploit the new opportunity, Caring moved his family permanently to Hong Kong in 1979. Due to its international trading nature, the company's structure and holdings are complex, held through a series of off-shore companies and trusts, making it hard to detect Caring’s full earnings from the fashion world.[6][10] The manoeuvre worked, and Caring cornered the market in fast fashion.[6][11] ICD at its height supplied 70% of the clothing sold by British high street retailers,[6] supplying Marks & Spencer, Mothercare and Next.

It was through ICD and its trading that he met and developed his relationship with Sir Philip Green, the fashion retailer. Up to this day, ICD is the dominant supplier to Arcadia Group, the Green-owned fashion retail chain that includes Dorothy Perkins, Topshop and Top Man.[6] This was not the normal retailer and supplier set-up but described as more of a partnership,[6] with Caring presenting Green with a Ferrari F430 Spider for his 50th birthday:[4]

For less than a year, Caring worked for Green, and he is still a supplier to the chain.[10] Caring supplied Next plc via a joint venture company NV, but sold his share in the 1990s back to the retailer.[10] He built a joint venture to supply Freemans catalogues, again now sold to the partner.[9] He also co-developed the Together brand, which after buying out partners he sold to German catalogue firm Otto Versand. In 2004-05, ICD saw sales drop to £74.2m from £85.5m, making a pre-tax loss of £523,644 from a £3.99m profit the year before after an exceptional loss on the sale of Amanda Wakeley's designer label.[10] In 2007, Caring looked at buying the distressed Prada brand.[12]

ICD is a smaller operation in the UK than it was, but still today employs 250 people,[6] focused for expansion on selling into the United States.[7] Based between Fitzroy Square and Euston Road, Caring's office is a bespoke built top-floor addition, with a fully equipped bar and a roof terrace that faces south across the West End. His personal office includes drawings by Degas, a Matisse, and a Henry Moore sculpture bronze of a mother and child, lifted in by crane.[6]

PropertyEdit

It is proposed by many that Caring first started investing in property while resident in Hong Kong, ploughing back profits from clothing sourcing into other assets.[9] His first UK publicised deal was the £45m purchase of a part of the Camden Market complex in 2004, that he purchased from Bebo Kobo and OD Kobo.[10]

Later that same year his friend Elliott Bernard called him to see whether, as an avid golfer, he might be interested in buying Wentworth Golf Club.[6] In partnership with then minority shareholder, airport hotel entrepreneur Surinder Arora, the pair paid £130m, £50m more than the club’s book value at the time:[6][10]

Caring has since purchased the former American Navy Building in Grosvenor Square.[13]

Restaurants and private member's clubsEdit

After buying Wentworth, Caring realised he needed to raise the standard of food. He approached his favourite restaurant Le Caprice in summer 2005, but as discussions deteriorated Caring joked it was costing him so much he might as well buy the whole Caprice Holdings group; it emerged that the management was looking for a buyer.[4][10] Six weeks later, after selling designer evening wear label Amanda Wakeley, Caring secured a £31.5m deal to take over Caprice Holdings, owner of The Ivy, Le Caprice and J Sheekey, as well as Italian restaurant Daphne’s, Vietnamese restaurant Bam-Bou.[14]

Caring began to reshape the group, which created much media coverage for someone who previously preferred to stay out of the limelight.[13] In 2005 he added fish restaurant Scott’s and catering firm Urban Productions, but sold Pasha to Algerian restaurateur Tony Kitous. He also bought Signature Restaurants from Luke Johnson for £57m, owner of mid-market Strada and Belgo chains.[10]

In 2006 he bought Rivington, a two-restaurant group independently set up by Caprice Holding’s chef director Mark Hix.[10] He sold Strada in 2007 for £140m.[15] In 2007 he purchased the Birley Group (Annabel's, Harry's Bar, Mark's Club) for £95m including the vast art collection,[9] concluded just a few months before Mark Birley’s death.[10]

In 2008 he agreed a leveraged buyout of 28 small investors in private members club Soho House, taking 80% for £105m, with the remainder held by Nick Jones who remains CEO, also his partner in Cecconi’s.[11] Caring also owns stakes in Cote (formed by the former management team of Strada),[6] and Alternative Investment Market listed chain Carluccio's.[13]

Caprice Holdings also owns Sexy Fish.[16]

The speed with which Caring has built his restaurant chain has resulted in many questioning his reasoning, on both a strategic level as well as the high purchase prices paid.[17] He has been dubbed by some as "the Lex Luther of Mayfair" for his apparent supermarket-sweep approach to buying companies. Other critics say he is brandishing a credit card, playing a high-stakes game of Monopoly, buying every square he lands on.[6] Further, a caricature appeared in Tatler magazine of Caring as James Bond villain Blofeld, stroking a white cat.[7]

But Caring insists he has a masterplan:[6]

Caring's strategy is built around three brands, with 60,000 people:[6][7]

  • Annabel's - including the Birley clubs (Mark's, Harry's Bar, George and Bath & Racquets), 12,000 members: He says "They're refined, discreet, elegant."
  • Soho House - 17,000 members: He says "They're for an arts, journalistic, younger crowd."
  • Caprice - 30,000 regular customers, the restaurant link between the two club chains

The brands have opened in several countries including: Le Caprice New York; Cecconi's Miami; Soho House, via £130m credit line supplied by HBoS,[10] in Berlin, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles.[4]

Restaurant critic AA Gill has commented:[17]

Caring owns restaurant chain The Ivy Collection.[18]

PoliticsEdit

A friend of Lord Levy,[5] Caring lent £2m to the Labour Party to fund the 2005 United Kingdom general election.[13] Caring was not later implicated or named as part of the Cash for Honours investigation.[11] The loan monies have since been repaid.[5]

Caring has donated to the Conservative Party on several occasions, mainly in the form of auction prizes. This includes the hire of Annabel’s in 2008 for the Conservative Party's Black and White Ball in Battersea Park, which was as an auction prize that raised £70,000.[10][12]

He was also recorded as donating just over £50,000 to the party in 2010. In 2012 he was recorded as donating £170,000. This was followed by a £290,000 donation in the third quarter of 2015.[19]

Caring is non-domiciled for taxation purposes in the UK.[7] He has commented on politics:[7]

PhilanthropyEdit

After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Caring donated £1m to the relief effort.[13] He supports the NSPCC at its Fresh Start centre in Camden,[13] to combat child abuse and paedophilia.[6] In 2005, he organised a charity costume “Napoleonic Ball” for the NSPCC in St Petersburg's Catherine Palace, Russia, featuring a performance by Sir Elton John.[13]

Caring spent £8m flying in 450 guests in by private jet,[9] including Bob Geldof and former US president Bill Clinton, raising £11m.[11]

Personal lifeEdit

Caring spotted his first wife, Aldershot-born model Jacqueline Stead, born on 9 January 1948, the daughter of a retired British Army major,[5] who was brought up in Shenfield, Essex and attended the Brentwood Ursuline Convent School, at a catwalk show. She gave up modelling three days after the couple met.[4] The couple have two sons, who were raised in Hong Kong: Jamie, a vice-president of MTV Networks Europe;[7] and Ben, who works for Soho House.[6]

In March 2018, Caring married Brazilian Patricia Mondinni.[20][21] The couple are expecting their third child in October 2018, who will be called Annabel, after the London nightclub that he owns.[22]

The family live in Hampstead, north London, in a house known as the Versailles of London.[11] It has a 55 feet (17 m) ballroom, a cinema, a dining room that seats 30; and a 2 acres (0.0081 km2) garden with a lake.[6] He has homes in Hong Kong, and own the former stable] of Pixton Park, Dulverton, on the Somerset/Devon borders.[23]

Purchased in 2005, it has an interior designed by Tara Bernerd, daughter of property developer Elliott Bernerd,[17] and is presently subject to a planning application for a "Winter Palace".[24][25] Extending to 500 acres (2.0 km2), the property was purchased to allow Caring to enjoy his hobby of shooting, and also holds a pet-holding of deer.[26]

Caring keeps himself fit, by running every day on Hampstead Heath with his German Shepherd dogs,[6] and by skipping meals, never eating breakfast or lunch if he can avoid them.[4]

His friends include Sir Philip Green, Scottish philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter,[27] and property developer Robert Tchenguiz, with whom he plays poker.[7]

His family relations include stockbroker Anthony Parnes and his son Michael Parnes, CEO of stock brokerage Old Park Lane Capital.[28]

2004 Indian Ocean earthquakeEdit

In 2004 over the Christmas period, Caring and his sons were scuba diving in the Maldives. On Boxing Day, the dive-master suggested they sail to an atoll and dive nearby. Anchored on the north side of the atoll, they dived to 100 feet (30 m) for 45 minutes. On their return to the surface, Caring received calls from friends around the world asking: "Are you all right?"[6]

Protected by the atoll, the divers had "felt a blip, but it could have been a big boat."[4] Divers on the southside of the atoll in the path of the tsunami were later found washed-up 100 miles (160 km) away.[4] Sir Philip Green sent his private jet to pick the family up, and Caring donated £1million to the tsunami relief fund:[6][4]

Divorce battleEdit

In 2016, Caring was the subject of a high profile divorce battle.[29] He had been married to his wife, Jacqui, for 45 years.[30] He left her to move into a £32 million home in St John's Wood with 35 year old Patricia Mondinni, with whom he had a son.[23] Richard Caring's divorce from Jacqui Caring was described as "Britain's biggest divorce".[21]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Rich List 2019". The Caterer. 12 May 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  2. ^ Times, The Sunday (12 May 2019). "Rich List 2019: profiles 201-249=". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Richard Allan CARING - Personal Appointments (free information from Companies House)". Beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Lydia Slater (12 June 2009). "Richard Carings Restaurant Empire". thisislondon.co.uk. Archived from the original on 5 February 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d "How Jewish is Richard Craing?". thejc.com. 1 May 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Chris Blackhurst (1 June 2009). "The MT Interview: Richard Caring". Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Chris Blackhurst (12 May 2008). "City interview: Richard Caring". Evening Standard. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  8. ^ China Influence. "The Brits that Changed China". Richard Caring.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Richard Caring - from the Ivy to Annabel's". Money Week. 16 July 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2009.[dead link]
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Richard Caring". squaremeal.co.uk. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Richard Caring". London, UK: The Times. 27 April 2009. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  12. ^ "Rags to riches: Richard Caring eyes Prada". thefirstpost.co.uk. 10 July 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "No.78 - Richard Caring". London, UK: Media Guardian 100, 2009. 13 July 2009. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  14. ^ "How Richard Caring piles up trophy assets". Financial Times. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  15. ^ Barriaux, Marianne (1 June 2007). "Ivy owner sells Strada chain for £140m". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  16. ^ Hurley, James (3 January 2019). "Record turnover for Caprice Holdings, owner of The Ivy". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  17. ^ a b c Long, Camilla (11 November 2007). "The man who controls your social life". London, UK: The Times. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  18. ^ Walsh, Dominic (29 April 2019). "Ivy Collection climbs while peers hit wall". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  19. ^ Doward, Jamie (21 November 2015). "Tycoon owner of The Ivy and Annabel's hands Tories £290,000". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  20. ^ "PressReader.com - Connecting People Through News". www.pressreader.com. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  21. ^ a b Finnigan, Lexi (6 October 2016). "'Britain's biggest divorce': The Ivy owner Richard Caring 'faces £350m bill after separating from his wife'". Retrieved 24 September 2018 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  22. ^ "Ivy tycoon plans double basement at 'bargain' £40m mansion". Homes and Property. 18 December 2018. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  23. ^ a b "Restaurants tycoon Caring faces huge payout after split from wife". Evening Standard. 6 October 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  24. ^ "Pixton Stables" (PDF). Planning Committee. Exmoor National Park Authority. Retrieved 10 January 2009.[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ Johnson, Rachel (11 May 2008). "Country life: how to blend in with the locals". London, UK: Times Online. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
  26. ^ Trump, Simon (4 October 2009). "Incomer tycoon Richard Caring's pet stags shot by mystery killers". London, UK: The Sunday Times. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  27. ^ "Tom Hunter: Meet Britain's most generous tycoon". London, UK: The Independent. 17 July 2006. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  28. ^ "City diary: Parnes rooting around the family tree". Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  29. ^ Finnigan, Lexi (6 October 2016). "'Britain's biggest divorce': The Ivy owner Richard Caring 'faces £350m bill after separating from his wife'". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  30. ^ Curry, Rhiannon (4 July 2017). "Richard Caring sells home of The Ivy for £40m". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 17 April 2019.