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Luke Johnson joins Sunday Times as business columnist

The restaurant and leisure entrepreneur Luke Johnson is to write a weekly column for The Sunday Times from February 1, the paper announced yesterday.

Johnson, who is leaving the Financial Times after seven years, made his name as an entrepreneur with the expansion and float of Pizza Express on the stock exchange in 1993. Subsequently he has started up, owned or run such restaurant brands as Strada, Belgo and Giraffe. He is the chairman and principal shareholder in Patisserie Holdings, the listed company that owns the fast-growing Patisserie Valerie chain.

Johnson said: “I’m delighted to be joining an outstanding team of contributors. My focus is entrepreneurship, and what it’s like actually doing business on the front line. I will be commenting on everything from startups to PLCs, ranging from the world of private equity to boardroom politics, and my experience across sectors like hospitality, the media industry, entertainment, retailing and travel.”

Sunday Times business editor Dominic O’Connell said: “Luke will make an invaluable contribution to our unrivalled coverage. He joins a stable of world-class and talented business journalists, and I am confident that Sunday Times readers will benefit from his wealth of experience in creating, and building businesses.”

Johnson, who chairs Risk Capital Partners, was chairman of Channel 4 for six years until 2010. He now chairs the Institute of Cancer Research, StartUp Britain and the Centre for Entrepreneurs. He has written two books: Start It Up and The Maverick.