Jonathan Lander

Born: January 3, 1968;

Died: August 28, 2023

Jonathan Edward Lander, who has died aged 55, was an entrepreneur and philanthropist with a considerable reputation on Wall Street and in the City of London as a shrewd investor and businessman. With his brother Nick, he founded Volvere plc to buy businesses in distress and turn them around.

He was born in Glasgow, educated at Glasgow Academy, Cranleigh School and Downing College, Cambridge where he graduated in law in 1989. He honed his already well-developed oratory skills as an undergraduate and represented the university in inter-varsity debating competitions.

Preferring to follow a career in finance rather than law (unlike his lawyer mother), his subsequent successes were in Wall Street and the City.

In the late 1990s he founded an early-stage internet incubator – one of the first in the UK – and made a number of investments that would prove pivotal in earning his reputation as a shrewd investor. In 1992 with his brother Nick, a Scottish-qualified chartered accountant, he founded the AIM-listed turnaround investor Volvere plc. At the time there were few bold enough to do what Volvere was setting out to achieve. With an initial capital of around £3million, Volvere would buy businesses in distress and turn them around.

The Lander brothers had a real passion for people-businesses, where Jonathan’s incisive mind could unnerve and inspire staff in equal measure. The successes over the next 20 years would see more than £34million returned to shareholders. Tears were often shed when Volvere sold an investment and staff knew a special period of ownership was coming to an end.

However, Jonathan’s relative success and wealth did not change him much. He had a brilliant mind and was always as comfortable being -related ones. He was very excited about AI and the benefits it could bring. As well as Volvere, he invested in and chaired a number of businesses across a range of sectors, including media, technology and hospitality. Behind the scenes, he was a generous donor to many charitable causes and often helped individuals with his time as well as financially. Sharing his knowledge and learning from others was, in many ways, what defined Jonathan’s character.

It was in Monaco in 1996 that Jonathan met his future wife, Florence Perret du Cray. Swiss-born and educated, Florence eventually followed Jonathan to London and qualified there as a chartered accountant. In Florence, Jonathan found an intellectual match and lifelong soulmate. Their three bright children are now following in their parents’ footsteps.

Jonathan believed in exploring and enjoying the world. You were as likely to find him on a first-class flight to a top resort in Dubai, South African or the US as you were exploring remote parts of Brazil or tramping the damp hills of England and Scotland.

But in later life, apart from his family, his greatest pleasure was piloting his Flight Design CT Supralight, the nimbleness of which allowed Jonathan to take off from an airstrip next to his home, flying whenever possible to his cherished chalet in Méribel, visiting his parents in Scotland, or attending business meetings.

Following his untimely and unexpected death from a rare form of bone marrow cancer, tributes have flooded in from those who were fortunate to know Jonathan. Whilst he could be charm personified, he could at times be impatient and very direct. To those who knew him, however, there was behind the challenging facade a kind, sensitive and caring man who, if he could, would always help those in need.

Jonathan is survived by his wife Florence, three children, Lily, Alex and Maddie, his brother Nick and his parents Ron and Liz. He was a truly unique character and will be fondly remembered by his family and the many whose lives he has touched.