25 million gift for LBS's Old Marylebone Town Hall

Idan Ofer, industrialist and principal of the Quantum Pacific Group, has today pledged through The Idan and Batia Ofer Family Foundation, a £25 million donation towards funding the redevelopment of the iconic Old Marylebone Town Hall, which was acquired by London Business School at the end of last year.   


The cutting-edge teaching and learning facility will be named ‘The Sammy Ofer Centre’ in honour of Idan’s late father, Sammy Ofer KBE, a distinguished shipping magnate and philanthropist.  The donation was announced today following a signing ceremony in the presence of Mr and Mrs Idan Ofer and Aviva Ofer, Sammy Ofer’s widow.
The building will become an integral part of London Business School’s campus, creating a triangle of educational facilities between Sussex Place, the Taunton Centre and Old Marylebone Town Hall.  The Town Hall, five minutes’ walk from the School’s Sussex Place and Taunton Place buildings, will transform the School’s future, providing a dynamic space where people can come together to test, share and apply new ideas and ways of thinking.
The plans, agreed late last year, involve the construction of an additional new three storey building complete with six new lecture theatres, a library, 35 seminar rooms, offices, staff and faculty suites, student lounge, broadcast facilities and a new alumni centre. Work is expected to start in early 2014.

Idan Ofer, whose Quantum Pacific Group spans energy, international shipping, natural resources, oilfield services and automotive industries, is an alumnus and long term supporter of the School, its values and its ethos. Mr Ofer said: “I have enjoyed a long association with the School and believe that it offers something uniquely valuable in the world of business education, combining strong fundamental business and management education with an emphasis on the business community being part of the solution for a better society. 

“This project is an important step towards ensuring the School can continue to grow and prosper in the future, creating new generations of leaders who can address the challenges of business and wider society.  My father Sammy enjoyed learning from others and throughout his career in shipping was known to spend many hours speaking with seamen and officers of vessels, rather than being tucked away in his office. This sense of curiosity resonates strongly with  London Business School’s community where students are not just stretched intellectually; they become a part of an ever-expanding international community, learning as much from each other as from the faculty”, he continued.  “One of the goals of The Idan and Batia Ofer Foundation is to ensure the next generation of Israeli entrepreneurs is equipped to cope with the challenges of globalisation.  London Business School is at the forefront of helping to meet these challenges.  The Foundation hopes in this small way to contribute to economic growth in the region, ultimately improving the prospects for peace and stability”.

Professor Sir Andrew Likierman, Dean, London Business School, said: “This wonderfully generous gift will enable us to convert this iconic London landmark for use as a state-of-the-art teaching and learning facility.  It will provide us with the space we need and enable us to achieve our vision of having a profound impact on the way the world does business”. 

Today, the School has also announced its first comprehensive fundraising campaign - to raise £100 million over the next five years.  The School’s campaign is to fund the development of Old Marylebone Town Hall, attract world class faculty, double its scholarships offering, invest in the latest technology, and to develop an unrestricted fund in support of the School’s strategic priorities.

The Hon Apurv Bagri, London Business School’s Campaign Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the School’s Governing Body and Managing Director, Metdist Group, added: “I’m delighted that we are able to announce this gift as we launch the School’s first ever comprehensive fundraising campaign. It sends a strong signal about the power of the London Business School community. Not only will this gift help fund the transformation of Old Marylebone Town Hall but, critically, it lays the foundation for the School’s future”.