Peter Stephens

After being expelled from school Peter spent the summer of ‘67 in Newquay working as a waiter and learning to surf.

He then attended Bromley College and spent the summer driving an ice cream van. He and a friend held a concert in a Bromley park and paid a young musician called David Jones £5 to appear. He later changed his name to David Bowie.

In 1970 Peter joined the Kentish Times newspaper as a trainee reporter and spent several years as a journalist working in England, Canada and launching the Saudi Gazette which is still published today.

He joined Global Holidays in 1978 running their ski programme for a year before becoming marketing director of Swedish direct sell tour operator Vingresor.

When Vingresor was bought by Portland in 1980 Peter and three colleagues borrowed some offices above a warehouse in Soho and set up the Lotus Group with DialAFlight as their main brand. They were the first travel firm to open seven days a week.

Today the company employs 500 people and turns over £330 million a year. It has appeared in the Sunday Times Top 250 private companies list for the last 12 years.

In 1997 Peter was Businessman of the Year for Southwark and in 2006 he was named by Management Today as one of the UK’s top 100 entrepreneurs.

Peter was honoured in 2016.