Crispin Tweddell: From Pitcher & Piano to Propercorn, lessons from private equity's nice guy

The founder of private equity firm Piper has an enviable track record as an investor in growing consumer businesses. What's the secret of his success?

by Andrew Saunders

Photography by Julian Dodd

An affable old-school toff with a BoJo-esque barnet and dressed-down manner, Crispin Tweddell is about as far away from the stereotypical bloodless, buttoned-up private equity tycoon as you can get.

But don't let appearances deceive you - despite the non-industry-standard rumpled jacket, faded red chinos and twinkly eyes, he's a remarkable entrepreneur-investor who founded Pitcher & Piano in the 80s and whose backing helped take fashion brand Boden (from whose catalogue he may well still dress) from sales of £18m to £156m in the noughties. His Piper operation's current portfolio includes Turtle Bay Caribbean eateries, posh dog food brand Forthglade and gourmet snack biz Propercorn (founded by MT's 35 Women Under 35er Cassandra Stavrou) to name but three.

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