David Ross
Mobile phones, Property
Rank 2017

Ross, 51, voted for Brexit, and the Carphone Warehouse tycoon’s insights into why the poorer parts of the country crossed the Leave box give pause for thought. He argues that communities his foundation schools work with in places such as Northampton, Kettering, Skegness and Bridlington have been hollowed out by austerity, forgotten by Westminster and ignored by business. Little wonder they registered a protest vote. Ross, who comes from a wealthy fishing family in Grimsby, graduated with a law degree from Nottingham University and worked at Arthur Andersen from 1988.
   At Uppingham public school he had become friends with Sir Charles Dunstone (qv), with whom he co-founded Carphone Warehouse. The business floated in 2000, demerged its TalkTalk telecoms and broadband operation in 2010 and finally merged with Dixons to form Dixons Carphone in 2014. Ross's combined stakes in the two are now worth £372.5m – down £140.5m on the year before – but dividends, a £105m property portfolio and other investments take him to £803m. A keen shooting enthusiast who once spent £22m on two grouse moors in North Yorkshire, he also plans to build Britain's first new opera house for more than a decade at his 14th-century Leicestershire mansion.