An entertaining and experienced keynote and after dinner speaker, Luke Johnson is a leading figure in private equity and serves as Chairman of Risk Capital Partners. He was responsible for growing Pizza Express from 12 restaurants to over 250, and is part-owner of Patisserie Valerie, Bread Ltd and the Red Hot World Buffet restaurant chain. He inspires with his passion for entrepreneurialism, and discusses the value of optimism, determination and self-reliance.
A leading figure in private equity, Luke Johnson is the pioneer behind several instantly recognizable high-street brands, who grew Pizza Express from 12 restaurants to over 250.
Luke is a knowledgeable and entertaining keynote and after dinner speaker; he inspires with his passion for entrepreneurialism and its contribution to the good of society, as well as the value of optimism, determination and self-reliance.
His professional diversity is awe-inspiring. An Oxford medical graduate, he began his career as a media analyst at Grieveson Grant, before serving as Chairman of PizzaExpress PLC in 1993, using his position to propel the business to new levels.
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 currently 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 is also Chairman of StartUp Britain, and created a think tank in 2013 called The Centre for Entrepreneurs.
During his time as the former 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 a governor of The University of the Arts London, and is currently Chairman of Career Colleges, a non-profit promoting vocational education.
As well as being the Chairman of The Institute of Cancer Research, Luke writes weekly for The Sunday Times, and, until 2015, he contributed a weekly column to The Financial Times.
His speaking topics include:
- Entrepreneurship and its contribution to society