John Caudwell has been at the top of the Birmingham Post Rich List for some years now, but this year he has been overtaken and pushed down to third place.
But that doesn’t mean he’s short of a bob or two. His £1.65 billion fortune remains stable, and you have to be fairly well off to book superstar Whitney Houston to sing at your charity bash.
The American diva is rumoured to have been paid well over £1 million to sing at John Caudwell’s annual charity ball. Mind you, that represents a bit of a saving. The previous year the guest artist was Tina Turner who is said to have been paid close to £3 million.
As far as former Staffordshire mobile phones magnate John Caudwell is concerned it’s well worth it. His superstar singing guests ensure a high profile and lots of cash raising opportunities for his charity, Caudwell Children. The charity was founded nine years ago and is recognised as one of the country’s fastest growing children’s charities.
John Caudwell has already raised close on £10 million for the Caudwell Children charity, which helps children with medical conditions. Many thousands of sick and disabled children have benefited from his efforts.
He has devoted much of his time to charity work since the Caudwell Group, including the mobile phone empire which he founded – Phones4U – was sold to private equity firms Providence and Doughty Hanson & Co in August 2006. The sale netted £1.46 billion. When it was established the firm took eight months to sell its first order of 26 phones. When it was sold, the Caudwell Group was selling 26 phones a minute and employed 8000 people around the globe.
Fifty-six year old Shelton-born John Caudwell still lives close to his roots in Staffordshire, but now occupies a 50-room £7.5 million Jacobean mansion. He also has homes in Chelsea and Les Arcs in France. His successful business career has paid for a helicopter, a six-seater plane and a £1 million Sunseeker motorboat, plus a Bentley Azure with the number plate JC1.
Caudwell Children’s latest venture is to invite gifted and talented disabled children to apply for adapted sports equipment. The programme enables disabled children to take part in competitive sport.
Thanks to a donation from Barclays Wealth, children with sporting potential receive donations for individually adapted sports equipment, including sports wheelchairs and hand bike tricycles.
All management and administration costs for the charity are covered personally by John Caudwell so every penny raised can go directly towards helping children.