Sir John Madejski
When you've bought a magazine for £2,000 then sold it for £260m and gone on to have a football stadium named after you, it's obvious you're doing something right.
But businessman Sir John Madejski, OBE DL, probably most widely known as the chairman of Reading Football Club, and with a raft of commercial interests spanning property, broadcast media, hotels, restaurants, publishing and football knows what it’s like to start from small beginnings.
Robert John Hurst was born in 1941. He changed his surname to Madejski when his step-father, a Polish airman during World War II, returned to England to marry his mother.
While on holiday in Florida in the mid 1970s he spotted a car sales magazine that included photos of the cars. He saw the potential for a similar publication in the UK and so Thames Valley Trader was founded. Its success led to the launch of Auto Trader in 1977 which went from strength to strength and in 1998, he netted £174m from the sale of its parent company, Hurst Publishing.
Art is one of his passions and he is a patron of many institutions in the arts, academia and education. He is a benefactor to the Royal Academy of Arts and in 2004 had the John Madejski Fine Rooms at Burlington House named after him in recognition of a £3 million donation.
Another passion is cars - he keeps a Ferrari in a glass case at his home. As chairman of Reading football club he spent £40m on the team’s Madejski stadium. His name is also attached to a hotel, an art gallery and a lecture theatre in Reading.
Madejski now has business interests around the world from a hotel in the Galapagos Islands to a bottling plant in China and, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, is easily worth £305m.
Sir John’s experience and business acumen make him a desirable keynote speaker for business audiences.