Joe Lewis (British businessman)

Joe Lewis
Born Joseph Lewis
(1937-02-05) 5 February 1937
Bow, London, UK
Residence Lyford Cay, New Providence, Bahamas
Nationality British
Occupation Chairman of Tavistock Group
Years active 1958–present
Net worth US$5.4 billion (May 2016)[1]
Successor Incumbent
Spouse(s) Esther Browne (divorced)
Jane Lewis
Children with Browne:
-Vivienne Lewis Silverton
-Charles Lewis

Joseph C. "Joe" Lewis (born 5 February 1937) is a British businessman, investor, and art collector who currently lives in New Providence, Bahamas.

Lewis' total wealth is estimated at $8.2 billion, and he is listed as the 277th richest person on Forbes’ List of billionaires (2015). Forbes reports that Lewis is the sixth wealthiest person in the UK.[2]

Early life

Lewis was born to a Jewish[3][4] family above a public house in Roman Road, Bow, London.[5] Lewis left school at 15 to help run his father's West End of London catering business Tavistock Banqueting. When he took the reins, he quickly expanded it by selling luxury goods to American tourists, and also owned West End club the Hanover Grand, where he gave Robert Earl his first job.[5] He later sold the business in 1979 to make his initial wealth.

Currency trading

After selling the family business in the late 1970s, Lewis moved into currency trading in the 1980s and 1990s, resulting in his move to the Bahamas where he is now a tax exile.[5] In September 1992, Lewis teamed up with George Soros to bet on the pound crashing out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. The event, which was dubbed Black Wednesday, made Lewis very wealthy, and some say he made more than Soros.[6][7] Lewis is still an active FX trader.[8]

Tavistock Group

Main article: Tavistock Group

Lewis is the main investor in Tavistock Group, which owns more than 200 companies in 15 countries. Tavistock Group's portfolio includes:


Lewis hosts the Tavistock Cup tournament every March in Florida, raising millions of dollars for charity, and owns three of the four clubs that compete: Albany, Lake Nona Golf & Country Club and Isleworth Golf & Country Club. Lewis built a golf community in the Bahamas called Albany, which opened October 2010. Woods and Els are also major shareholders in the luxury resort community located in New Providence. A 71-slip mega-yacht marina, an Els-designed championship golf course, a boutique hotel, water park, kids' clubhouse, adult pool, spa and fitness center, and a variety of restaurants and bars are among the amenities Albany offers. Lewis made a £70 million investment in Bulgarian property development.[9]

Lake Nona Medical City

Lewis took the long-term view and seeded Lake Nona, covering 7,000 acres next to Orlando’s international airport, with $100 million in gifts and land which was cultivated into a large-scale community offering research and educational facilities, hospitals for veterans and children, a town center, and a range of workspaces and residential options.[10]

Cisco has designated Lake Nona as one of its eight "Smart + Connected" cities for the 21st century. The establishment of new medical and life sciences assets within this master planned development includes the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the University of Florida Academic and Research Center, Nemours Children’s Hospital and the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center.[11]

Escondido Lake

Since Lewis bought a property in Río Negro Province, Argentina, public access to Escondido lake has been under discussion. The Argentine law asserts that every water course is public and of free access. Lewis' property encircles the lake. While some have called for another public mountain trail to be built to access the lake, El Consejo de Ecología y Medio Ambiente de Río Negro (the Council of Ecology and Environment of Río Negro) does not support building another pass, which would cause harm to the environmentally protected area.

Bear Stearns

Main article: Bear Stearns

On 10 September 2007, Lewis paid US$860.4 million in an all-cash purchase of a 7% stake in Bear Stearns.[12] By December 2007 Lewis had raised his stake at the brokerage firm to 9.4%, a total of 11 million shares, for which he paid an average price of $107 apiece.[13] After the purchase of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan for $10 a share, it was estimated that Lewis lost $1.16 billion on his investment.[5][14][15]

Mitchells & Butlers

Main article: Mitchells & Butlers

Lewis is the largest shareholder in the British public house group Mitchells & Butlers, controlling 26.85% of the issued share capital through his investment vehicle Piedmont, which he built up since 2008.[16][17] It was reported on 27 August 2011 that Lewis had made a zero premium proposal for the pub group of 224p a share. He later revealed on 12 September 2011 that he was considering raising his earlier offer to 230p a share, a 4.5% premium. However, independent M&B board members rejected the offer as "significantly undervaluing" the business.

Personal life

Lewis has been married twice. His first marriage to Esther Browne ended in divorce. They had two children:

Joe Lewis is now married to Jane Lewis.[5]

Lewis owns the superyacht Aviva, which he uses as his personal mobile office.

Art collection

Lewis' art collection, estimated to be worth $1 billion, includes works by Picasso, Matisse, Lucian Freud and sculptor Henry Moore.[8] Lewis bought Francis Bacon's Triptych 1974–1977 in 2008 for £26.3 million,[23] then a record for postwar artwork bought in Europe.[24]


  2. "Joe Lewis". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-02-01.
  3. European Jewish Press: "Jewish businessmen prominent in British 'Rich List'" April 24, 2006
  4. Wall Street Journal: "Star of David, For Entertainment Only" November 11, 2012
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Luscombe, Richard and Teather, David. "The East Ender who blew a billion dollars in a day", The Guardian, 22 March 2008. Retrieved 2011-10-1.
  6. Bowers, Simon. "Profile: Joe Lewis", The Guardian, 14 September 2007.
  7. "Billionaires: March 2011 - Profile: Joe Lewis". Forbes.
  8. 1 2 "World's Billionaires 2013". Forbes. 2013-03-04.
  9. Jenny Davey (2007-09-27). "Joe Lewis takes aim at Bulgaria". London: The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
  10. "Orlando's Newest Attraction Is Medical". New York Times. 2010-09-07.
  11. "Medical City Is Changing Florida's DNA". Florida Trend. 2009-10-01.
  12. "Bear Stearns Gains on Speculation About Stake Sale (Update5)". Bloomberg. 2007-09-26.
  13. "Lewis, Barrow Hanley Lose Combined $2 Billion on Bear (Update2)". Bloomberg. 2008-03-17.
  14. Bryan-Low, Cassell (2008-03-17). "A Stake Through the Heart". The Wall Street Journal.
  16. Jenny Davey (2011-09-18). "Mitchells & Butlers: the giant pub company with no one to call 'time'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2011-09-24.
  17. The Jewish Chronicle: "Joe Lewis still has that midas touch" by Alex Brummer June 10, 2010
  18. Tavistock Website: Board of Directors retrieved September 8, 2012
  20. Britol Cars: "The end of the second era - 1997-2011" retrieved December 31, 2012
  21. New York Times: "Bristol Cars: Exclusive Anonymity" By NICK KURCZEWSKI February 11, 2008
  22. This Is Bristol: "Bristol Cars - Memorable Motors" by Gerry Brook December 08, 2009
  23. Brown, Mark. "What recession? Bacon sells for £26.3m". The Guardian, 8 February 2008. Retrieved on 20 June 2010.
  24. Thornton, Sarah. "Francis Bacon claims his place at the top of the market". The Art Newspaper, 29 August 2008. Retrieved on 10 June 2010.

External links

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