SIR TERENCE Conran has handed over full control of his design empire to his son Jasper, to focus on his work with the Design Museum and expanding his chain of Albion cafes.
The 82 year-old designer, restaurateur and founder of the Habitat brand has stepped down as chairman of Conran Holdings but will remain on the executive board, the company announced yesterday.
His son Jasper Conran, the celebrated fashion designer, was made chairman of the furniture chain the Conran Shop in 2012 but will now have full executive control over the entire business, including the architect and design consultancy business Conran & Partners.
But despite handing over the reins, Sir Terence said he has no plans of retiring and will continue to be involved in Prescott and Conran, his restaurant business which owns Lutyens, the Boundary and the Albion cafe.
The serial entrepreneur wants to expand the British-themed cafe and bakery beyond its current two sites in Shoreditch and NEO Bankside in Southwark.
In 2012, he sold his 51 per cent stake in D&D London, the company previously known as Conran Restaurants, whose sites include some of London’s best known eateries including Coq D’Argent.
■ The son of Sir Terence and his first wife, novelist Shirley Conran, Jasper Conran has been a part of the London fashion scene since the age of 19 when he launched his first womenswear collection.
■ At the age of 15 and wanting to make a name for himself in design, Conran left school at Bryanston in Dorset and moved to New York to attend Parsons design school.
■ Conran’s first womenswear collection in 1978 was followed by his first menswear collection in 1985 at the age of 26. He was awarded Designer of the Year by the British Fashion Council the following year.
■ In 1991, Conran branched out into costume design and has since designed sets and costumes for over 13 ballets, plays and operas.
■ He expanded his brand into homeware and accessories in the 1990s, designing a range of china for Waterford Wedgewood in 1999 and launching Jasper Conran Interiors in 2003.
■ One of Conran’s most well-known collaborations is his J for Jasper Conran womenswear range for Debenhams launched in 1996. He became one of the first designers to team up with a high street retailer.
■ Conran was appointed an officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to retail in 2008.
■ In 2012 Conran succeeded his father as chairman of the Conran Shop and embarked on an expansion plan for the group, which now has more than 10 stores across the world.