Nicholas Ashley-Cooper, 12th Earl of Shaftesbury

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Nicholas Ashley-Cooper, 12th Earl of Shaftesbury : biography

3 June 1979 –
Mainsail Haul

During World War II, St Giles House was requisitioned and used as a school. At that time, the family took up residence at the dower house, known as Mainsail Haul and have lived there ever since. This Manor House is located near the centre of Wimborne St Giles.

Lough Neagh

Lough Neagh, the largest lake in the UK is owned by the earl. Any development affecting the bed and soil needs permission and a levy to be paid. It was offered to the government for free 15 years ago but the offer was refused.BBC Radio Ulster, 1:30PM Sun, 30 Sep 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01n8b4h/Evicting_the_Earl/ This may have serious implications for planned changes to state-run domestic water services in Northern Ireland, as the lough supplies 40% of the region’s drinking water and is also used as a sewage outfall (in a system only permissible through British Crown immunity).

Professional background

Music promotion

He first arrived in New York in his early twenties, where he contributed to the city’s thriving electronic music scene. He came over from Britain to manage a trendy club, Arcspace, which was notable for its lack of a drinks licence. Making a virtue out of necessary, he drew a crowd that was more interested in music and dancing than getting drunk and created a loyal fan base.

Before succeeding to the earldom, Ashley-Cooper established himself as a successful entrepreneur, having set up and run a music events company in New York. He was in demand as a house DJ and music promoter in New York, London, and at Privilege in Ibiza, Spain. He has been professionally stylized as nick ac. He formed the notable collective ROBOTS in 2004 with several other New York DJs, establishing a weekly event at Club Deville. In the summer of 2006, he spent time in residency at Privilege Ibiza.

Following his brother’s death, Lord Shaftesbury relocated to the family seat at Wimborne St Giles, to assume the responsibilities of the earldom.

Business administration

, Shaftesbury is employed as the Chief Operating Officer with GoMix, which is an interactive music software platform company. The company has launched a widget, designed specifically for use on social networking sites. Shaftesbury has a solid grounding in business management and strategic design consultant. Prior to signing on with GoMix, he served as part of a team that raised over $5 million for Saatchi Online, which is an online forum and art gallery presenting the work of over 100,000 artists and receiving an estimated 73 million hits per day. Prior to his work with Saatchi Online, he worked in Digital Strategy and Business Development with Terra Firma Capital Partners, following their acquisition of British music company EMI Group Limited. Terra Firma is perhaps best known, in recent years, for its widely publicized investment in EMI.

Shaftesbury’s earlier work involved providing strategic analysis with Discovery Networks Europe as a member of the strategy team for Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The network offers "a portfolio of channels, led by Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, that are distributed in virtually every pay-television market in the world".

In 2010, Lord Shaftesbury was recognized as one of the top 20 young individuals in the UK, according to the Sunday Times Rich List. Shaftesbury’s was listed in 16th place, alongside singers Leona Lewis, Charlotte Church and Katherine Jenkins.

Personal background

Nicholas Ashley-Cooper was born on 3 June 1979, in London, the son of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 10th Earl of Shaftesbury, and the Swedish-born Christina Eva Montan (born c. 1940). Ashley-Cooper’s elder brother was Anthony Nils Christian Ashley-Cooper. His mother was the daughter of Nils Montan, the former Swedish Ambassador to Germany. Lady Shaftesbury was also a divorcée with a son and daughter from her first marriage, the half siblings of the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury. Ashley-Cooper succeeded his elder brother to the earldom. The 11th Earl died on 15 May 2005 of a heart attack in Manhattan, New York, while visiting his younger brother, Nicholas.

Ashley-Cooper attended Eton College in his youth, as his father did before him, leaving early, at age 16, to go to Canford School near his home in Dorset. He later attended Manchester University, graduating in 2001. The focus of his education included Economics and Social Policy. In 2008, Shaftesbury graduated from the London Business School, earning his Masters in Business Administration. While maintaining his musical interests, Lord Shaftesbury has also shown an interest in supporting charitable organisations, primarily those addressing the needs of children with disabilities.

In December 2009, Lord Shaftesbury suffered serious spinal injuries in a riding accident, crushing several vertebrae in the fall. While he experienced initial paralysis necessitating the use of a wheelchair, physical therapy has helped restore his health to the point where he is able to walk, with limitations.

The 12th Earl of Shaftesbury was married on 11 September 2010 in Dorset to Dinah Streifeneder. They have two children:

  • Anthony Francis Wolfgang Ashley-Cooper, Lord Ashley (born 24 January 2011), heir apparent and the only person in line of succession to the earldom
  • Lady Viva Constance Lillemor Ashley-Cooper (born 22 April 2012)