Ivan Glasenberg: A Champion Leading ‘Glencore’

Ivan Glasenberg: A Champion Leading ‘Glencore’

Purnima Narang || The CEO Magazine

The man behind one of the world’s largest commodity trading and mining companies, Glencore, Ivan Glasenberg is the CEO and largest individual stake owner at Glencore. Ivan joined the company in April 1984 and has been serving as CEO since January 2002. The company serves its customers with its diverse range of metals and minerals produce such as copper, zinc, nickel and ferroalloys – and also market aluminium/alumina and iron ore from third parties. It a major producer and marketer of coal and have mines in Australia, Africa and South America.


Under the guidance of Ivan Glensberg, Glencore’s oil business headquartered in the United Kingdom is one of the leading marketers of natural gas, crude oil, and refined products. The brand physically sources the commodities and products from its global supplier base and sells them to customers all over the world.

Glasenberg was born on 7 January 1957 in South Africa to a Jewish family. His father was a luggage manufacturer and importer in Lithuania and his mother belonged to South Africa. With great interest in sports, Ivan became an athlete in his early life. During his 20s, he was the national junior champion in race-walking for both South Africa and Israel. Ivan married Elana Beverley Orelowitz in 1984 and has two children. His friend from a young age, Mick Davis, is the former CEO of mining company Xstrata, which is now owned by the Glasenberg.

He graduated with Bachelors in Commerce degree and pursued his Bachelor in Accountancy degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He was with Nexia Levitt Kirson, South Africa, a firm of chartered accountants as a Chartered Accountant for five years. He received his MBA from the IBEAR program at the University of Southern California in 1983.


Ivan’s career began while working in the coal commodity department in South Africa for three years as a marketer, before spending two years in Australia as head of the Asian coal commodity division.

He served Glencore in various roles including the head of Glencore’s Hong Kong and Beijing offices, as well as head of coal marketing in Asia between the years 1988 and 1989. His responsibilities in those positions included overseeing the Asian coal marketing business of Glencore and managing the administrative functions of the Hong Kong and Beijing offices. In January 1990, he accepted the position of being responsible for worldwide coal business of Glencore for both marketing and industrial assets until he was made CEO in January 2002. He has also been serving as executive director of Xstrata Plc since 2002 and non-executive director of Minara Resources ltd since 2000, Rusal Plc since 2007 and Century Aluminium Co. for a time frame of one year from 2010 to 2011.

Glencore Xstrata:

Glencore and Xstrata merger was one of the largest mining mergers in history creating a US$88 billion company, Glencore Xstrata. Glencore became CEO of the merged entity replacing Mick Davis. Originally planned as a takeover where the CEO Mick Davis was supposed to be the CEO and Glencore was supposed to be the President of the merger-of-equals transaction, Glasenberg became the CEO due to holding out of major Xstrata shareholder Qatar, as it became a takeover target. The new entity was formed with an exchange of 3.05 Glencore to 1 Xstrata Share, Glencore Xstrata, which Davis left in 2013.

One of the Richest Businessmen in South Africa:

In May 2011, when Glencore floated via an initial offering, Glasenberg was reported to personally earn billions. In April 2012 Glasenberg was placed in the 20th richest mining billionaire with reports of him holding more than 15 percent of Glencore’s stock, with Forbes estimating his net worth at US$7.3 billion. The merger increased the net worth of Glasenberg by a salary of undisclosed amount. According to Forbes in 2016, Glasenberg had failed to make it to the cut-off of the wealthiest Australians by net worth, with a threshold of US $500 million. In 2017, the financial review rich list assessed Glasenberg’s net worth at A$ 06.85 billion.

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