A little more than a quarter of a century after he nearly became an Israeli
citizen in order to compete in the Olympics, the CEO of the Swiss-based
commodity trading firm Glencore is about to become one of world’s hundred
richest men as his company goes public.
Ivan Glasenberg will probably be
one of the least-known billionaires in the world when the sale is completed, but
his lack of fame might not have been the case had he achieved his dream of
competing in speed walking at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, which he revealed
in a rare interview with the magazine of his alma mater, the University of
Southern California’s Marshall Business School.
Glasenberg’s South Africa
was banned from the Games because of apartheid, and the Johannesburg native, who
is Jewish, sought to obtain Israeli citizenship – but failed to complete his
application in time.
Now, thanks to information published in a prospectus
on Wednesday, it has been revealed that the initial public offering for Glencore
may value Glasenberg’s stake at $9.6 billion. That figure could be a record,
given that it tops Stephen Schwarzman’s $8.8b. stake in Blackstone when
the private-equity firm went public in June 2007. Glasenberg will own 16 percent
of the commodity trading firm after the sale, which may give the firm a market
capitalization of about $61b. and will turn at least four more senior executives
Glencore is a corporate successor to Marc Rich &
Co, which was led by the controversial commodities trader of the same name –
who, incidentally, holds Israeli citizenship.
Rich sold the company to
management in 1994, a few years before receiving a pardon from US President Bill
Clinton after he was indicted on federal charges of making illegal oil deals
According to the company, Glasenberg joined Glencore in April
1984 – just three months before the opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympics
– and has been CEO since January 2002. He first worked in the coal/coke
commodity department for three years as a marketer and then in Australia for a
further two years as head of the division responsible for sourcing and marketing
coal in the Asia-Pacific region.
After stints in Hong Kong and Beijing,
Glasenberg relocated to Glencore’s headquarters in the small Swiss village of
Baar, where he became director of the coal/coke commodity department before
assuming the top job.
Bloomberg contributed to this report.