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Sudhir Choudhrie: Indian-born and London-based businessman

Sudhir Choudhrie is an Indian-born and London-based businessman born on 15 November 1952 to a Gujarati family in Mumbai (Bombay). Keshavji Choudhri’s father was a chartered accountant who worked for the Bombay Stock Exchange. He had two elder sisters, both of whom died before he turned ten. After his parents divorced when he was nine, he moved to England with his mother and stepfather. He attended St Mary’s School, Paddington, where he excelled at cricket. In 1970, he went to Trinity College, Cambridge, but left after one year without taking any degree course. Choudhrie started his career as a stockbroker in 1975, working for Merrill Lynch & Co. Ltd., which later became part of Bankers Trust Company. He also served as a director of the company from 1987 to 1990. In hospitality, he founded the hotel chain The Westbury Hotel Group in 1988. In 1992, Choudhrie co-founded the airline CityFlyer with Sir Richard Branson, which operated flights between Heathrow Airport and other European cities. It ceased operations in 1997. In 1996, he bought the bankrupt airline CityJet, renaming it Cityjet International Airlines. He sold the airline in 1999.

Sudhir Choudhrie has been involved in various other business ventures since then. In 2004, he purchased the former Royal Air Force base RAF Northolt, near London, for £100 million. He converted it into a private airport called “The London Aerodrome” that can accommodate small aircraft. He is currently chairman of the board of directors of the UK-based travel group Thomas Cook Group plc, which owns brands including TUI Travel, First Choice Hotels, and Thomson Holidays. Sudhir Choudhrie is also an investor in the healthcare sector. In 2005, he acquired a majority stake in the UK-based medical technology firm Mediplus Medical Systems Ltd. He sold this stake in 2008. He is also a shareholder in the UK-based pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline Plc. Choudhrie is a patron of several charities. He is a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, London; the Royal Academy of Arts; and the National Theatre. He is also a member of the advisory council of the University of Oxford.

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