Nick Jones, founder of private members’ club Soho House, resigns

Nick Jones, the founder of Soho House, will step down as chief executive of the private members’ club and hotel empire he founded 27 years ago after disclosing a prostate cancer diagnosis.

Jones announced Wednesday that he was “transitioning from CEO to my original role as founder.” The 59-year-old has transformed Soho House from a single private members’ club in London’s central district to a global network of 38 “houses”, spas, co-working spaces and luxury hotels.

The businessman said he was taking a step back from the day-to-day running of the company after cancer treatment “changed my perspective and approach.” Andrew Carnie, the company’s global president, will replace him as chief executive.

“First some bad news and some very good news,” Jones said in an email to members on Wednesday. “At the beginning of the summer I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It was caught early and my treatment has been 100% successful and I am not only healthy again but also cancer free.

“Inevitably, this experience has changed my perspective and approach. As a result, starting today I will be transitioning from CEO to my original role as founder and concentrating on the creative and membership aspects of Soho House.”

Jones, who is married to BBC presenter Kirsty Young, said he wanted to do “more of what I love”, saying it was making sure the members had a good time. He would also focus more on the company’s House Foundations programs to help underrepresented groups thrive in the creative industries.

He tried to reassure the more than 210,000 members around the world that the clubs and business would be in “good hands” with Carnie, who joined the company in 2019.

When Soho House started atop Jones’s Cafe Boheme restaurant on the corner of Greek Street in 1995, only people working in the creative industries were allowed in: bankers and those dressed in suits and ties, though they were not prohibited from applying. , they often found their membership terminated.

That approach came back to bite Jones in 2015, when he tried to raise money from bankers by inviting them to an investment bond presentation at his Shoreditch House headquarters near the City of London.

“It’s quite funny,” a potential investor told Reuters at the time. “They say we’re not cool enough to join their club, but they’re perfectly willing to take our money when they need it.” Another said the Soho House message was simply: “We don’t love you; we want your money!”

Now the company, which was quickly renamed Membership Collective Group (MCG) as part of its £2bn-plus IPO on the New York Stock Exchange last year, operates hotels, spas and workspaces. set, as well as private clubs for members. across the five continents.

Over the years, it’s been the party spot for the rich and famous, from Kate Moss, Kendall Jenner and Ellie Goulding to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Reports in the tabloids suggest that Harry, fifth in line to the throne, and Meghan, the former Suits actress, met on a blind date in 2016 at the group’s home at 76 Dean Street, one of the eight Soho Houses in London including a terraced house. in Mayfair, and a rooftop club, hotel and pool inside the former BBC studios in White City.

“For the past 27 years, I have run Soho House and, more recently, MCG, always putting members at the center of everything we do,” said Jones. “I am very proud of what we have accomplished and grateful to all the teams that have helped us get to where we are today.”

Jones owns just under 6% of the shares, along with American real estate billionaire Ron Burkle, who has a 42.5% stake, and British restaurant millionaire Richard Caring, who has 20%.

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