Pallet tycoon joins the Den

Posted on 7 Feb 2011 by The Manufacturer

Pall-Ex boss Hilary Devey is to join the team of business gurus for hit television show Dragons' Den, replacing James Caan.

Having sold her assets, including her home, to fund the launch of the pallet company in 1996, Ms Devey built up a multimillion-pound business empire.

Pall-Ex is one of the three biggest pallet distribution companies in the UK.

She joins Dragons Duncan Bannatyne, Peter Jones, Theo Paphitis and Deborah Meaden.

James Caan has stepped down from the show, saying he was concentrating on his “work and philanthropic interests”. He and fellow Dragon Duncan Bannatyne have fallen out over Mr Bannatyne’s claim that Caan’s non-domicile tax status gave him an unfair advantage in the TV show’s format, which requires Dragons to invest in new enterprises.

Devey told the Press Association: “At a time when the banks are failing to invest in British small businesses, I am proud to be able to do my part to support the next generation of UK entrepreneurs.

“In order to set up Pall-Ex in the mid-90s, I had to sell my house and car to get the start-up capital necessary to fulfil my business ambitions, as none of the banks appreciated my potential.

“I would have loved the opportunity to have stood before the Dragons, and I will remember my own experiences and the realities of running a business today, when choosing to support – or reject – the budding entrepreneurs joining me in the Den.”

BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow said: “With her extensive business experience, Hilary will bring a new dynamic to the Den, turning up the heat on prospective entrepreneurs as they seek that all-important investment.”

The series, in which budding business tycoons present ideas to bid for investment from the Dragons, has been commissioned for a further three series.