The telecoms tycoon behind Preston’s new academy has become Britain’s first digital billionaire.
Carphone Warehouse founder Charles Dunstone, who is the prinicipal sponsor of the Fulwood Academy through his own charitable trust, has seen his wealth rocket to £1 billion, catapulting him into the top 100 richest people in the country.
The Sunday Times Rich List, due to be published tomorrow, shows him topping a list of 23 digital millionaires.
Mr Dunstone, 46, started Carphone Warehouse in 1989 with £6,000 of his own savings and built it up to a company big enough to float on the stock market in 2000.
He remains chairman of the phone retailer and of telecoms provider TalkTalk, which was demerged from Carphone last year, and has retained considerable stakes in both companies.
In a message on the Fulwood Academy website, Mr Dunstone said both companies were “very large employers” in Preston, with hundreds of staff employed at its Tulketh Mill call centre on Blackpool Road.
He said: “Whilst I will be funding the academy personally, it is being done with the full support of the company and together we are determined to provide the very best environment and facilities for those at the academy.
The success of internet shopping has tripled the fortunes of Johnnie Boden, founder of online retailer Boden, and Nick Robertson, founder of Asos. They are worth £310 million and £177 million respectively.
Richard Goulding and Simon Perree are worth £160 million each through their stakes in Jersey-based online DVD retailer Play.com.
Hayley Parsons, 37, is a new entry to the list with a £95 million fortune from price comparison website Gocompare.com.
A list of online gambling millionaires is topped by father and daughter Peter and Denise Coates, whose ownership of Bet365 gives them a combined fortune of £750 million. Mr Coates is also chairman of Stoke City Football Club.
Banking heir Nat Rothschild has risen to be joint-top of a list of hedge fund managers after trebling his wealth this year.
The son of legendary financier Lord Rothschild is “easily” worth £1 billion compared to £330 million a year ago.
For more on Lancashire’s richest see Monday’s Evening Post.