Yves was born and educated in Paris. He holds a First Class Honours degree in Philosophy and German, as well as an MA, from Oxford University. Yves started his business career at ED&F Man, joining the partnership in 1983 and becoming Group Chief Executive Officer in 1987, aged 34. He retired from the City in his late thirties and has since held a number of non-executive directorships in companies ranging from hedge fund managers in Asia to commercial property investment in the UK and food processing in Spain. Yves was a founder-director of Kensington Group Plc, a start-up mortgage bank, which was successfully floated on the LSE in November 2000. In 1996, Yves helped create two major businesses in Poland: Dom Development, listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange since 2006, which currently develops over 2,000 homes a year, and Europa Park, the country’s premier logistics and distribution centre. Yves is the chairman of Woodsford Consulting Ltd , which he founded in 1996, and of Woodsford Litigation Funding Ltd , which he founded in 2010 to promote access to justice for impecunious claimants with meritorious cases in the field of large commercial litigation and international arbitration. For ten years, Yves was a trustee of The Brain Research Trust, which funds neurological research at UCL’s Institute of Neurology.
In 1990, together with his wife Anne, he established the AB Charitable Trust. The Trust’s aims are the defence and promotion of human dignity and it has made grants of some £15m to date. In December 2015, the A B Charitable Trust endowed the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at the University of Oxford.