23 (15) Sir Michael Bishop £300m (£480m)
Former Bmi airline owner Sir Michael Bishop recently ruled himself out of taking on the role of chairman of ITV.
He’s far from unique in that distinction. Sir Crispin Davies, the former chief executive of publishing group Reed Elsevier, also ruled himself out of the process.
Former chairman of Channel 4, Sir Michael Bishop sold his share of Castle Donnington-based Bmi to Lufthansa in the autumn of 2008.
Sir Michael owned 50 per cent and one share of the airline. He sold to Lufthansa for an estimated £318 million, turning the German airline into the second biggest carrier at Heathrow behind British Airways. It already owned 30 per cent of Bmi.
The high value of Bmi’s slots at Heathrow was one of the reasons why takeover fever was so intense for more than a year before the sale. It came at a good time for Bmi which has otherwise been having a tougher time of things, with declining profits. The economic slowdown and higher fuel costs took their toll.
Sir Michael, 67, has been a thorn in the side of governments in the past as he has battled to open the skies up to competition.
And he is not very happy with David Cameron’s approach to transport which favours rail at the expense of air.
Sir Michael has spent his working life in civil aviation. Born in Bowden, Cheshire, he joined Mercury Airlines in 1963, which was taken over by British Midland in 1964. He became managing director in 1972 and led a management buyout in 1978.
He was chairman of Channel 4 Television between 1993 and 1997 and has also been a generous sponsor and ultimately chairman of the board of trustees of D’Oyly Carte Opera.
He runs the Michael Bishop Foundation, which among other charitable works, supports the expansion of the Australian Flying Doctors service.