Roland "Tiny" Rowland (November 27, 1917 – July 25, 1998) was a British businessman and chairman of the Lonrho conglomerate from 1962 to 1994. He gained fame from a number of high-profile takeover bids, in particular his bid to take control of Harrods.
Rowland then worked for his uncle's shipping business in the City of London. He took his uncle's surname, 'Rowland' on his 22nd birthday. On the outbreak of World War 2 he was conscripted into the British Army where he served with the Royal Army Medical Corps. As enemy aliens, his parents were interned on the Isle of Man, where his mother died. He himself was interned as an enemy alien after trying to arrange for the release of his father.
Rowland was recruited to the London and Rhodesian Mining and Land Company, later Lonrho, as chief executive in 1962. Under his leadership, the firm expanded out of its origins in mining and became a conglomerate, dealing in newspapers, hotels, distribution, and textiles, and many other lines of business. During 1973, Rowland's position was the subject of a High Court case in which eight Lonrho directors sought Rowland's dismissal due to both his temperament and to claims he had concealed financial information from the board. Rowland failed in his legal attempt to block the move but was subsequently backed by shareholders and retained his position. British Prime Minister, Edward Heath, referring to the case, criticised the company in the House of Commons and described events there as "the unpleasant and unacceptable face of capitalism".
In 1983, Rowland took over The Observer newspaper and became its chairman. He also campaigned to gain control of Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, but was defeated by the Egyptian-born tycoon Mohamed Al-Fayed, which led to a well-publicised feud between the two men.
In a boardroom coup in October 1993, Rowland was forced to step down as Chairman of Lonrho. He was succeeded by former diplomat Sir John Leahy.
The satirical magazine Private Eye frequently referred to him as "tiny but perfect", not because of any shortness in stature, but because he was always impeccably groomed.