HE IS the former Dragons’ Den star who has a new den.

Celebrity entrepreneur Theo Paphitis is Solent University’s new chancellor, a largely ceremonial position he nevertheless intends to take just as seriously as all his other roles over the years.

Shortly after his appointment was announced earlier this year he said: “I’m a very poor back seat driver.”

He was inaugurated last night, succeeding Admiral The Right Honourable Lord West of Spithead (below), and will serve for a minimum of three years.

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Theo, 59, said: “I am looking forward to getting my teeth into my new role.

“Solent University is in a fantastic position and, with its stellar teaching staff and ambitious students, has so much potential to keep rising up the rankings.

“In an increasingly competitive world we have to be the best at what we do and I can’t wait to get started.”

The vice-chancellor, Professor Graham Baldwin, added: “Solent plays a key role in supporting local and regional economies, sharing knowledge, skills and resources with the local community.

“With his knowledge and experience from industry, Theo will help us to strengthen partnerships and further enhance our commitment to real world learning.”

Theo is only Solent’s second chancellor.

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He will be the ceremonial head of the university and one of its most important ambassadors. He will also hand out degrees at award ceremonies as well as acting as the Solent’s figurehead.

Theo has supported the university for many years and in 2010 was made an honorary doctor of business.

In 2017 he opened The Spark, a state-of-the-art teaching and learning building with a space age red pod.

The Cypriot-born father of five is reported to be worth about £280 million.

During a hugely successful career he has bought and revived the fortunes of businesses such as Ryman and Robert Dyas.

He also launched the global lingerie brand Boux Avenue and in 2016 acquired The London Graphic Centre.