20th February: Laurence Isaacson
Laurence Isaacson CBE FRSA BScEcon
Laurence was born in 1943 and educated at Quarry Bank Grammar School in Liverpool. He studied economics at LSE and graduated in 1963.
His early career was in marketing and advertising with UniLever prior to setting up his own Advertising Agency-the creative business in 1972.
His clients included Nestle,Gillette,General Foods ,Shell and Unilever.
He sold the agency to Publicis in 1983
He subsequently opened his first restaurant Cafe Des Amis Du Vin in 1983 before co founding Groupe Chez Gerard a group of 2 dozen restaurants, including Bertorellis,Livebait ,Chez Gerard and Cafe fish in 1986 .He co founded Home House ,a glamourous private members club in 1990 From 1990 to 2002 he was a director of the London tourist Board .
In 1996 with his business partner he was named Group restauranteur of the year by Hotel & Caterer.
From 1995 to 2010 he was a non executive board member of ambassador for the theatre group, the UKs largest theatre group with 40 theatres. In 1998 he was awarded a CBE for his services to the restaurant industry and tourism .
Laurence has been a lifelong supporter of the arts and charities and we think he deserves to be further recognised for his considerable voluntary work. From 1985 to 2000 he served on the board of CRUSAID the HIV fundraising charity.
From 1988 to 1994 he was Chairman of London contemporary dance trust,which incorporated the UKs leading contemporary dance school and performing company.
In 1989 he founded the Covent Garden Festival of Opera & Music theatre . With the help of his Royal Patron ,Princess Diana ,he raised over £7 million pounds to stage ever year the festival from 1989 to 2001.As Chairman he he presided over 100 performances in 20 different venues for 3 weeks every May without any public funding. From 1990 to 2001 he served on the board of ARTS & BUSINESS helping to encourage businesses to support the Arts. He was on the Advisory Board of UK in NY in 2003.
In 2003 he was appointed a Governor of the RSC for 10 years and was part of the team that helped raise funds to build the new theatre in Stratford upon avon. He is currently serving on the board of RSC America .For 6 years he was Chairman of the Actors Circle which raised funds to train and develop young RSC actors. For the last 10 years he has been on the Board of the World Cancer Research Funk UK and is currently Chairman .He is also on the boards of WCRF Netherlands and WCRF Hong Kong.
In 2014 he was appointed to the council of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He is a keen supporter of the Royal Free Hospital where he recently has had a kidney transplant and is helping raise funds for their new Institute of Immunology and Transplantation –a collaborative venture with UCL. He is also an ambassador for Kidney Research Uk. He is currently co owner and Chairman of the iconic French restaurant in Soho L’ESCARGOT.