Mark Leslie James Dixon (born November 1959) is an Essex-born English billionaire businessman, best known as the founder of serviced office business Regus.
Mark Leslie James Dixon was born in November 1959, the son of a Ford car mechanic, Dixon was educated at Rainsford comprehensive school (which subsequently became St Peter’s College and which was abandoned and left derelict in 2011 ). On noticing that a new housing estate needed nourishment for its gardens, he sold peat distributed by wheelbarrow.
After leaving school at 16, Dixon founded sandwich making business Dial-a-Snack, which delivered locally on a butcher’s bicycle. After the business failed, he travelled the world, becoming a barman in St Tropez, a miner in Australia, a farmhand in Asia; and selling encyclopedias.
Returning to Essex, he invested £600 in a burger van, based on London’s North Circular road. From profits he then bought seven other vans, but found difficulty in obtaining good and regular bun supply. Travelling between meetings on either a bicycle or in one of his vans, he set up The Bread Roll Company to supply his own and other mobile fast food vendors, which he sold in 1988 for £800,000.
Relocating to Brussels, Belgium, he set up an apartment rental business. While sitting in a cafe, he regularly noticed how local business people were forced to meet around the small tables of local coffee shops, and resultantly set up Regus in 1989. Floated in October 2000, it was valued at £1.5bn. By mid-2001, the business worth £2bn, with Dixon’s 60pc stake making him a billionaire. However, in light of the failure of the dot.com boom, Dixon’s stake fell and he was valued at less than £80m, with the UK arm of the business being sold to Alchemy Partners.
Dixon has since rebuilt the business, and now owns the Chateau de Berne vineyard in Provence.
As CEO and founder of Regus, Dixon realised that the need for flexibility in uncertain economic times meant changes in the work environment. Regus´s strength as a company has been its ability to gear towards this. The company now has a presence in over 100 countries and has reported strong cash flow in 2012.
Dixon met his first wife, journalist Trudi Groves who was then a partner in a text-editing company, in 1987. After marrying in 1988 and selling his baking business, they moved to Belgium, but later returned to the UK and lived in Surrey, with their two children. Dixon has three children from prior relationships.
In late 2003, the family moved to Connecticut so Dixon could improve the US business performance of Regus. In 2005, Dixon divorced Trudi, the mother to two of his five children, in a £28.7m settlement.
Dixon is resident for tax reasons in Monaco.
Dixon has five children, two of whom are from the same relationship. In order of age Holly, Nicola, Sophie, Savannah and Josh.