Sir Jack Petchey CBE

Sir Jack Petchey was born in the East End of London in 1925. He had few advantages in life and left school aged 14 with no qualifications. Initially rejected for management training and told he would ’never make a businessman’, Jack has gone on to become one of the most successful businessmen in Britain today!

"I am a great believer in the ability to speak well. I remember when I first started in business and quickly realised the importance of making your points with confidence. Most young people today hold strong views and feel passionate about them. Our challenge gives them an opportunity to be trained in how to express themselves clearly and without fear" - Sir Jack Petchey CBE

Jack Petchey is now involved in many charitable enterprises. He was born and brought up in the East End of London. During the Second World War, he served in the Royal Navy, and used his Navy discharge pay to start a car hire and car sales business. This grew into a business empire worth - in mid-2007 - over half a billion pounds. In 1969 he was involved with property development becoming one of the most successful businessmen in Britain. As well as his own business interests, he is a frequent investor in quoted companies via his investment vehicle, Trefick. His investing style tends to be cautious. He tends to look for strong asset backing and cash flow.


The Jack Petchey Foundation, formed in 1999, has given over £100 million to youth programmes. He started an award scheme for young people recognising, "extreme endeavour and to help young people to help themselves. This scheme covers Schools, Scouts, Sports Clubs and other organisations. The foundation has a branch in Albufeira, Portugal, doing the same work the foundation does in the UK.


The Petchey Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of East London and the Petchey Academy are named after him. He was nominated as a Scouting in London Ambassador for the Scout Association Region for Greater London at an Adult Appreciation ceremony in 2008.


Petchey was a director at West Ham United FC from June 1978 until 1989. He was also chairman of Watford F.C. for 10 years, buying the club from singer Elton John in 1987. Petchey resold the club to John in 1997. Jack Petchey awards are now given to young children for commitment. Petchey was appointed as Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2004, and elevated to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for charitable services and was made a knight in 2016.