Photo: Findus via Daily Mail
Lyndon Lea, the boss of the private equity firm linked to Findus, is a financier straight out of central casting.As a keen polo player, he owns a ranch in Santa Barbara, California and leads the Zacara team.
Lea has enjoyed success with Zacara, which is named after his children, with the team winning the Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup in 2011 and the US Open Polo Championship in 2012.
The 44-year-old’s polo exploits have also led to Lea gaining a reputation for his party lifestyle.
Stories to emerge from the ranch in California include parties with sushi served on half-naked women and a polo soiree attended by Sienna Miller and Tommy Lee Jones.
Lea himself is keen to play down his “playboy” reputation. In a recent interview, he said: “Because of our focus on high–profile brands there has been a certain scrutiny of my personal life.”
Now, however, Lea is set to come under the spotlight for an entirely different connection to horses. A beef lasagne made by Findus, which is part owned by Lea’s Lion Capital, has been found to contain 100pc horse meat.
Lea has risen to become one of the world’s leading financiers after being born in Morecambe, Lancashire as the son of an engineer father and hairdresser mother.
The 44-year-old grew up in South Africa and Canada after leaving Lancashire when he was younger, before studying business at the University of Ontario in Canada.
After graduating, he joined Goldman Sachs in New York.
Lea returned to the UK in the 1990s to join Glenisla, part of US private equity house KKR.
Lion Capital was founded by Lea in 2005. The company has made millions by buying and selling a string of well-known brands, including La Senza and Weetabix. Lion Capital first invested in Findus in 2008.
However, the private equity group is probably best-known for its success with Jimmy Choo. Lion Capital funded the rise of the luxury shoe-maker, which was founded by Tamara Mellon.