13. (11) Sir Peter Rigby £520m (£520m)
Birmingham computer entrepreneur and aviation enthusiast Sir Peter Rigby is spreading his wings. He had added another luxury hotel to his collection, bringing his portfolio to three.
The founder and head of technology giant Specialist Computer Holdings has acquired the upmarket and exclusive Kings Hotel in Chipping Campden. The Kings Hotel joins the award winning Mallory Court Hotel in Warwickshire and Buckland Tout-Saints in Kingsbridge, Devon in Sir Peter’s small but exclusive hotel group. The hotel – in the centre of Chipping Campden - boasts award-winning food and 12 en-suite bedrooms.
Sir Peter, aged 65, has a £480 million stake in Birmingham-based Specialist Computer Holdings – Europe’s largest independent technology group. Sir Peter founded the company in 1975 with just £2,000.
A qualified fixed wing and helicopter pilot, Sir Peter also runs Patriot Aviation, based in Gloucester and Cranfield, which operates flying schools, charter operations and helicopter maintenance, indulging his passion for all mechanical things that fly.
SCH, with its headquarters on the Warwick Road in Birmingham, provides European blue chip companies and government organisations, including HM Revenue and Customs, with desktop services, computer networks and products. It is a successful organisation, with more than 6000 staff and over 90 offices in cities across Europe. The company turns over more than £2 billion a year, making it the top private company in the region.
SCH’s UK operation is also its European headquarters. After more than 30 years of profitable growth it has a leading position in the UK market serving organisations across the public and private sectors.
Sir Peter’s son James, 38, took over as managing director of SCH’s UK operations a couple of years ago, having risen through the ranks. His other son Steven is also a senior board director.
Patriot Aviation – based at Cranfield airport in Bedfordshire – is the sole UK representative for Gulfstream. The company is also the UK and Northern Ireland agent for Bell Helicopters. Patriot also provides maintenance services and training.
Sir Peter devotes much of his time and money to charity. The Rigby Foundation Charitable Trust supports child related causes and children’s hospices. It also donates to charities for the aged, either with cash support or by providing IT equipment, training and expertise. As well as encouraging science and technology education in the region, SCH supported the first virtual museum focussing on the Cold War based at RAF Cosford.
Sir Peter was knighted in the Queens Jubilee Honours for his contribution to information technology and business. He also holds honorary doctorates from UCE and Aston University.