Who is Javad Marandi?
Javad Marandi is a billionaire businessman and property developer with a taste for vintage wines, private jets and beautiful properties.
But the 54-year-old is also one of the UK’s most notable philanthropists, and was recently recruited to the board of the young homeless charity Centrepoint to assist with its mission to put an end to youth homelessness.
Roll back the years, to 1979, and an 11-year-old Javad moved from his birthplace of Tehran to the UK.
There, he went on to study electrical and electronics engineering at Cardiff University.
The Iranian revolution of 1978-79, which deposed the Shah and installed Ayatollah Khomeini, meant that Javad’s parents – a property developer and a teacher – had to give up their life in Iran and make their home in the UK.
How has his career progressed during the course of his life?
Javad thrived in his adopted homeland, and after he completed his engineering studies at Cardiff University he qualified as a UK chartered accountant at Coopers & Lybrand (now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers).
In the 1990s, he worked as a business development manager for the Coca-Cola Company in Central Asia, and as an area manager for emerging markets at the tobacco company Philip Morris International, before starting his own businesses.
His fortune, which has made him one of the wealthiest people in Britain, was built on both property development and in retail.
The rich and famous such as Eddie Redmayne, Liv Tyler, Pixie Lott and Daisy Lowe are regulars at the private members residence Soho Farmhouse, which he co-owns.
As well as the Oxfordshire outpost of Soho House, his properties include Chais Monnet, a 92-room luxury hotel, restaurant and retail development in Cognac, Sofitel Brussels, and CenterParc in Moselle, France.
He has also invested in restaurants such as Shirvan; Michelin starred-chef Akrame Benallal’s high-end restaurant on Place d’Alma, in central Paris.
In 2014, Javad took a majority stake in Wed2B, a UK mid-market wedding apparel retailer focused on regional UK towns and cities.
Javad, together with his Azerbaijan-born wife Narmina, also bought a majority share in the high fashion brand Anya Hindmarch.
In 2019 he invested in New Zealand native and London-based womenswear designer Emilia Wickstead.
Where is he now? What is he doing?
In 2017, Javad set up the Marandi Foundation with Narmina, a patron of the British Fashion Trust, to provide disadvantaged young people and communities in the UK with access to training and educational opportunities, as well as mental health and wellbeing support services.
In January 2020, he was appointed co-chair to the Growth Board of youth homeless charity Centrepoint in a ground-breaking move to end the cycle of youth homelessness by 2037.
The growth board is also at the forefront of Centrepoint’s Independent Living Programme (ILP) which is the most important project ever to be undertaken in the youth homelessness charity’s 50 year history.
What this means is that young people, who are making the transition from homelessness back into society, are being given a more sustainable future thanks to the creation of purpose-built affordable housing which is integral to the charity’s ILP.
As co-chair, Javad leads on Centrepoint Works, the charity’s newly restructured arm, which delivers training and skills to more than 1,200 young people every year and aims to secure more than 200 jobs and apprenticeships combined.
The Marandi Foundation is also a big supporter of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge which brings people, ideas and resources together to understand issues, explore creative solutions to challenges and be a catalyst for long term-impact.
And the Marandi Foundation is a provider of bursaries so that a small number of disadvantaged children can attend London’s prestigious St Paul’s School.
Javad and Narmina are also involved in the arts and the Marandi Foundation, in partnership with The Conran Shop, sponsored the inaugural The Conran Shop & Marandi Foundation Award for Designer of the Future at the New Designers Awards – the UK’s most important exhibition for emerging design talent in the UK.
Javad is also chairman of the Advisory Board of Watercolour World, a charity working to provide online public access to thousands of documentary watercolours from all over the world. It objective is to collate a unique visual history of the world.
Core funding provided by the Marandi Foundation also means that people can still visit the Serpentine Galleries for free.
When he is not working or helping others, Marandi is said to have a passion for vintage wine.
In 2020 he was appointed and OBE in the New Year’s Honours or his services to business and for his philanthropy.