United Kingdom

Mining billionaire Ivan Glasenberg retires from Glencore role

Ivan Glasenberg is retiring after almost two decades at the helm of Glencore – and will now turn his hand to farming. 

The South African will step aside by June after an 18-year tenure which saw him take the global mining group to the stock market in 2011 and seal a blockbuster £66billion deal with rival Xstrata soon after. 

Glencore's £36.7billion float made him and a group of colleagues – dubbed the 'Billionaire Boys Club' – fabulously wealthy overnight and his personal fortune is estimated at £3.4billion. 

End of the line: Glencore's Ivan Glasenberg will step aside by June after an 18-year tenure

The 63-year-old's departure will mark the end of an era for the company, placing it firmly in the hands of a new generation after several other long-running bosses and Billionaire Boys Club members stepped down. 

Instead of staying in the industry, the Mail understands Glasenberg's next venture will be to set up a farm in his grandparents' ancestral home of Lithuania. 

The father-of-two, who joined Glencore in 1984, is also considering setting up a sports company in Switzerland, where the mining giant is headquartered and where the former Olympic speed walker and rugby enthusiast intends to stay. 

He will hand over the reins over to Glencore's coal boss Gary Nagle, a fellow South African who is known as 'mini Ivan' and had been tipped as a possible successor. 

'Mini Ivan': Glasenberg will hand over the reins over to Glencore's coal boss Gary Nagle

Glasenberg said: Gary started with me in the coal division 21 years ago. He's 45 years old, he's had great experience around the world.' 

Glasenberg said two years ago he was considering leaving by the time he was 65 – but dropped hints it could come much sooner. 

He made public his departure date yesterday in a surprise announcement at an investor meeting as the company unveiled aggressive plans to become carbon neutral by 2050 and to cut 40 per cent of its emissions by 2035. 

Mark Bristow, chief executive at Barrick Gold, said: 'He was a good leader and had so much energy. He's a larger than life entrepreneur.' 

Glasenberg joined Glencore when it was a commodities trading house called Marc Rich & Co in 1984, shortly before the eponymous owner was indicted for US tax evasion. 

Glasenberg was among a group that led a management buyout in 1994, when it was renamed Glencore. The Xstrata deal in 2012 turned it into the world's biggest coal shipper. 

Glasenberg has famously taken relatively small salaries for FTSE 100 chief executives and received most of his payouts through dividends. 

And the company has been dogged by scandal, with the US, Brazil, and the UK all launching investigations into money laundering and corruption. 

Swiss authorities are also looking into whether it failed to prevent alleged corruption in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it mines copper and cobalt. 

Russ Mould of broker AJ Bell said Glasenberg's 'will be a hard act to follow'.


Ivan Glasenberg is full of surprises. 

The swashbuckling multi-billionaire chief executive of Glencore chose a radical climate change update to fulfil his long-standing pledge to step down from the commodities trading and mining giant. 

Under the stewardship of the South-African-born entrepreneur, Glencore was transformed from the discredited commodity trading firm Marc Rich & Co into a global colossus which bestrode the world. 

Its most eye-catching deal was the £28billion absorption of Xstrata, the mining group created by his estranged protege Mick 'the Miner' Davis in 2012. 

It took the intervention of former prime minister Tony Blair to finally settle the differences between the two tycoons. 

In a typically bold move, Glasenberg, who will step down next year after 36 years at the firm, threw down the gauntlet to his successor Gary Nagle and industry rivals, with a promise to cut the group's greenhouse emissions to net zero by 2050. 

Glencore already has set out on that course by running down its Latin American and South African coal operations. 

Glasenberg, who is a champion hill walker, has pledged to hold on to his 9.1 per cent stake in the commodities firm. 

He leaves with the cloud of a US Department of Justice investigation over alleged bribery by the group still unresolved. 

His can-do, free booting style will be missed in an industry short of real characters.

                                                                                                                               Alex Brummer 

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