Bill Cullen was born in Dublin in 1942 and grew up in the inner city slums of Dublin's Summerhill tenements. A street seller from the age of six, Bill left school at thirteen to make a living. In 1956 he got a job in a Dublin Ford car dealership and by 1964, as a twenty-two-year-old, he was appointed director general of the dealership. In 1986 he took over the troubled Renault car distribution franchise and turned it into a success. Bill Cullen is a director of the Irish Youth Foundation and in 1998 was a recipient of the Lord Mayor's Award for his work with the disadvantaged young people of Dublin and the inaugural Princess Grace Kelly Humanitarian Award in 2004 for his work with children.