Sir Lloyd founded the company Travelex in 1976. It went on to become the world’s largest retailer of foreign exchange; he sold the company in 2015 and it is now part of Finablr. In 2014, he co-founded and became chairman of Doddle, a retail business enabling people to collect, return and send their online shopping from train stations and elsewhere.
Today he has a number of business interests, including a minority shareholding in The Office Group, the British pioneers of co-working spaces, and shareholder and director of the London Theatre Company. He also sits on London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Business Advisory Board.
He is chairman of youth and enterprise charity the Prince’s Trust, as well as of Prince’s Trust International, which aims to help unemployed young people around the globe into education, training and work. He is also a trustee of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation. He was knighted in the queen’s 2018 birthday honours.
“I am delighted to accept this position as chair of one of the world’s best-loved and most-visited theatres in the heart of London’s West End,” Sir Lloyd said of his new position.
“As a passionate and long-standing supporter of the arts, I look forward to continuing the fantastic work of my predecessors, ensuring that the Royal Opera House continues to engage with new and diverse audiences in its beautiful Covent Garden home, in cinemas up and down the UK, through new digital channels, or through any one of its dedicated learning and participation programmes that have seen dance and singing embedded in schools the length and breadth of the country.”
In his new role, Sir Lloyd will help to ensure the future of the Royal Opera House, sustaining future funding and guaranteeing the opera house’s central position at the heart of the UK’s vibrant cultural landscape. He will continue to drive forward the ROH’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and staging world-class performances and will ensure that children and young people across the country have access to the ROH’s programmes for free.
Alex Beard, chief executive of the Royal Opera House, commented: “Lloyd is a true champion of the arts, with an outstanding commitment to the public good, not least through his work with the Prince’s Trust. I very much look forward to continuing our work together as he leads the board, helping us to navigate the challenges ahead and unlock the many opportunities of the future.
“I would also like to thank Simon Robey for his wise counsel and outstanding leadership over the last year, when he returned as chair.”
The appointment process was conducted by the Royal Opera House Chair Selection Committee, chaired by Sue Hoyle OBE, supported by Lord Browne of Madingley, Tim Bunting, Dame Vivien Duffield and Indhu Rubasingham MBE, who were joined by Federico Bonelli and Dame Vikki Heywood. Following a rigorous process over five months, Sir Lloyd was unanimously accepted at a specially constituted board meeting on 21 June 2022.
Hoyle said: “We are delighted that Sir Lloyd Dorfman has been selected as chair of the Royal Opera House. We know that his passion and commitment to the arts will ensure we move forward from the challenges of the Covid pandemic and embrace a new future for the UK arts industry.”
Sir Nicholas Hytner, director of the London Theatre Company and former director of the National Theatre, added: “I have known Sir Lloyd Dorfman for 20 years since he became the National Theatre’s most important benefactor and an immensely valued board member. I cannot imagine a better person to chair the Royal Opera House at this time. His palpable enthusiasm for both opera and ballet and his warmth and dynamism all point to an exciting future for a great institution.”
Sir Lloyd Dorfman has been appointed chair of the Royal Opera House’s board of trustees, effective from July 2022.