|Intro||English businessman, philanthropist and co-founder of mobile phone retailer Phones 4u|
|A.K.A.||John David Caudwell|
|Birth||7 October 1952, Birmingham, Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom|
|Residence||Stoke-on-Trent, City of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, United Kingdom|
John David Caudwell (born 7 October 1952) is a British billionaire businessman and philanthropist who co-founded the mobile phone retailer Phones 4u. He also invests in fashion, real estate and other industries, and chairs Caudwell Children, a children's charity, and Caudwell LymeCo, promoting the health of Lyme disease sufferers in the UK. He is known for being the UK's largest taxpayer, but has taken steps to reduce his tax liability.
According to the Sunday Times Rich List in 2019, Caudwell is worth £1.576 billion.
On the Forbes 2016 list of the world's billionaires, he was ranked #722 with a net worth of US$2.4 billion.
Caudwell was born in Birmingham but moved with his family as a baby to Stoke-on-Trent and raised in Wellesley Street in Shelton, Staffordshire, and with his brother Brian attended Shelton Church of England School, and then Berry Hill High School. His father had a stroke when Caudwell was 14 and died four years later.
Caudwell abandoned his A-levels to become an apprentice at Michelin, and worked for several years there as an engineering foreman while gaining a HNC in mechanical engineering. Whilst working at Michelin he also ran a corner shop and started a mail order business selling clothing to motorcyclists, both of which were successful.
In 1987 Caudwell and his brother Brian both registered Midland Mobile Phones as a mobile phone wholesaler, initially taking 26 Motorola mobiles at £1,350 each. It took 8 months to sell these 26 phones to local plumbers, taxi drivers and television repairmen at a price of £2,000 each. The company made a loss every month for the first two years of operations. The business became the Caudwell Group part of which was an independent mobile phone network service provider called Singlepoint and a high street mobile phone retail operation called Phones4U. In 2003 he sold Singlepoint to Vodafone for £405m (then $648m). Caudwell completed the sale of the wider business on 26 September 2006, when it was revealed that the Caudwell Group had been sold for a £1.46 billion to private equity firms Providence Equity Partners and Doughty Hanson.
In 2012, Caudwell appeared on Sky One's The Angel.
Caudwell is also the owner of the South African F1 Powerboat racing team Caudwell Racing which has competed in the championship since 2012. The team has made history by competing with revolutionary four-stroke engines compared to the traditional and widely used two-strokes.
In 1999, Caudwell was appointed as the President of the North Staffordshire branch of the NSPCC, and became the regional representative for the Full Stop campaign. Of the appointment, he says: "I was initially approached by the NSPCC to sponsor a cricket match. As is my way I got stuck in, took the whole thing over and was determined to raise as much money as I could."
Caudwell founded the charity Caudwell Children in 2000. It became a national charity in 2006, and as of 2016 Caudwell is the chairman of the board of trustees. Of the charity, he said: "I wanted to make sure that every penny that was raised would be put to the best use and spent on the children that needed it. My family puts about £2 million a year towards Caudwell Children. In addition I put in a lot of my time and I do a lot of networking. [But] the truth is my fortune isn't enough to help all the children that need help." The charity has proved controversial because it promotes unproven and dubious health practices and has aligned itself with antivaccinationists. The National Autistic Society asked Caudwell's charity to remove claims from its website that it had the society's support.
In October 2011, he made a "significant" six-figure donation to Middleport Pottery (one of the last working Victorian pot banks in Britain) in Stoke-on-Trent, through The Prince's Regeneration Trust. In October 2012, Caudwell was one of three principal private donors for the London's Bomber Command Memorial Appeal.
In February 2013, he became one of the first Britons to sign up for Bill Gates and Warren Buffetts' Giving Pledge, which calls on billionaires to commit at least half their wealth to charity during their lifetime.
As of July 2013, Caudwell Children has raised £27 million since its inception in 2000. As a result of his charitable work and his financial success, he now plans to give away at least half his wealth when he dies.
His key charitable pursuit is supporting Caudwell Children; however, he is also a significant and regular contributor to and supporter of a number of charitable causes including The Prince's Regeneration Trust, Marie Curie, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, ARK (Absolute Return for Kids), Great Ormond Street Hospital and The Carers Trust, amongst others.
He still donates to the NSPCC, and undertakes regular 1,000-mile charity bike rides to raise funds for many children's charities. On one fundraising bike ride from Land's End to John o' Groats in 2012, he raised £58,021 for Caudwell Children.
Caudwell has been awarded accolades for his philanthropic efforts. On 8 December 2012 at The Noble Gift Gala, he was presented with The Noble Gift Philanthropreneur Award by Hollywood actress Eva Longoria for his dedication to charity work.
In April 2010, Caudwell donated £2,000 to Conservative MP Bill Cash's general election fund.
In 2019, Caudwell was reported to have donated £500,000 to the Conservative Party ahead of the 2019 United Kingdom general election. He also gave interviews stating that he and many other wealthy individuals would leave the UK if the Labour Party gained power.
Caudwell was married to Kate McFarlane for 25 years, ending in 2001, and they had three children. He then had a relationship with violinist Jane Burgess, with whom he had a daughter. He was then in a long-term relationship with Claire Johnson for 15 years, with whom he has a son. They separated in 2014.
In 2015, Caudwell claimed that 11 family members including himself, his ex-wife Kate McFarlane, their two daughters Rebekah and Rhiannon, and his son Rufus had been diagnosed with Lyme disease.
His current partner is Lithuanian former cyclist Modesta Vžesniauskaitė.