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Biography of Johann RUPERT

South Africa > Business : Johann RUPERT

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Born on 01/06/1950 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Johann Rupert (b. June 1,1950), is a South African businessman and chairman of the Luxury -Goods Company "Richemont" and he is also Non-Executive Chair of "VenFin" and "Remgro "which are two companies based in South africa. He ranked second in South Africa with a fortune estimated at 3.8 billion dollars ,just after the Oppenheimer family.    

He is married to Gaynor and have three children.

Johann Rupert is the eldest son of the late South African tycoon Anton Rupert. The elder Rupert built the industrial Conglomerate into a billion dollar conglomerate from a business he started with £10 in his garage. The conglomerate spans luxury goods, finance, mining interests and more and is now headed by Johan Rupert who has built on the successes of his late father.

The family empire was started in 1941 by Anton Rupert, who then operated a dry cleaning business. In the late 1940s, however, Anton Rupert decided to enter the tobacco industry, taking out a loan to launch his own tobacco company. The company's first cigarette brand was named Rembrandt, and it became popular among South African smokers. By the 1950s Rupert found himself at the head of one of the continent's leading tobacco firms.

Before joining the Rembrandt empire,  Johann Rupert worked for Chase Manhattan and Lazard Freres in New York for two and three years respectively. Using the experience he gained in America, he returned to South Africa to head up the international arm of Rand Merchant Bank.

Since joining the family business, he has diversified the Rembrandt empire from its base in tobacco and alcohol products into expanding foreign markets. As a result of this expansion he has formed Compagnie Financière Richemont   of which he is Managing Director in 1988.

He was elected “Businessman of the Year” by the Sunday Times in the same year.

In 1989 Rupert was appointed Vice Chairman of the Rembrandt Group.

1990 saw his election by "Die Burger" newspaper and the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce as the business leader of the year. He also formed the Vendôme Luxury Group SA.

In 1991 Rupert was appointed Chairman of Rembrandt Group Limited and in 1992 he was elected one of 200 "Global Leaders of Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland.

2000: Restructured Rembrandt Group Limited and formed Remgro Limited and VenFin Limited. Appointed Chairman and Chief Executive of Compagnie Financière Richemont SA. Voted “Most influential Business Leader” in South Africa by CEO’s of top 100 Listed Companies

Awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Economics by the University of Stellenbosch.

Rupert played a key role in the establishment of Vodacom, the leading cellular communication specialist group in Africa, as well as in Tracker Network (Pty) Ltd, which specialised in stolen vehicle recovery systems. He sold Vodacom to Vodafone for R21bn via the restructuring of VenFin Limited.

Although he continued as Executive Chairman, he resigned as the CEO of Richemont in September 2004 after 15-month period of leading the company's turnaround.

He also has other centres of interests such as rugby and cricket and he adores golf. He is overseeing two of the best known vineyards in South Afric, "The Rupert & Rothschild and the Ormarins, which he took over on the death of his brother. he owns one of the most exclusive golf club in the country.

Billionaire and 'Eco-Baron', Johann Rupert's Father Anton developed an environmentally aware conscience early on; co-founder of the WWF and South African President of the association, he worked alongside Nelson Mandela to protect nature.

Animal reserves without barriers or limits, the family offered a 20 000 hectare reserve as a gift to their country, providing a school to train future 'ecotourism' guides.

Johann Rupert said "the protection of nature was natural for my father," and, talking about the future Johann says, "We are doing this so that the children of our children's children can continue to benefit from what nature has to offer."

Last update : 02/26/2010

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