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Johann Peter Rupert (born 1 June 1950) is the eldest son of the late South African business tycoon Anton Rupert and his wife Huberte Rupert. He is the chairman of the Swiss-based luxury-goods company Richemont as well as of the South Africa-based company Remgro. It was announced on 13 November 2009 that as of 1 April 2010, he would also assume the position of Chief Executive Officer of Compagnie Financiere Richemont.
Rupert grew up in the South African town of Stellenbosch, where he also attended the well-known school for boys, Paul Roos Gymnasium and the University of Stellenbosch, studying economics and company law. He dropped out of the university to pursue a career in business but in 2004 Stellenbosch University awarded him an honorary doctorate in economics. In 2008 he was awarded an honorary doctorate in commerce from Nelson Mandela University.
Described as "reclusive" by the Financial Times and Barron's, Rupert rarely gives interviews and shuns public events. In 2006 the same newspaper also called him "Rupert the Bear" for predicting a world economic crisis.
Rupert served his business apprenticeship in New York, where he worked for Chase Manhattan for two years and for Lazard Freres for three years. He then returned to South Africa in 1979 and founded Rand Merchant Bank of which he was CEO. He started the Small Business Development Corporation in same year (over 600,000 jobs created since inception).
- 1984: Merged RMB and Rand Consolidated Investments, and left to join his father's company, the Rembrandt Group.
- 1988 Founded Compagnie Financiere Richemont in 1988 and was appointed Non-Executive Director of Rothmans International plc in 1988. He was elected “Businessman of the Year” by the Sunday Times in the same year.
- 1989: Appointed Vice Chairman of the Rembrandt Group.
- 1990: Elected 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.
- 1991: 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.
- 1993: Received the M.S. Louw Award by the A.H.I. ("Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut").
- 1996: Elected Sunday Times Business Times's Businessman of the Year for second time.
- 1997: Appointed Non-Executive Chairman of Gold Fields South Africa Ltd.
- 1999: Awarded the 1999 Free Market Award by The Free Market Foundation of South Africa.
- 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
- 2000: Awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Economics by the University of Stellenbosch.
- 2008 Voted South Africa's Business Leader of the Year by the CEO's of the Top 100 Companies, for the third time.
- 2009 Appointed “Officier” of the French “Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur” by the President of the French Republic
- Selected as the 2009 International Wine Entrepreneur of the Year at the Meininger “Excellence in Wine and Spirit” awards ceremony in Düsseldorf, Germany.
- Recipient of the WITS Business School Management Excellence Award.
- 2009: Elected Chancellor of Stellenbosch University
- 2010 Made Honorary Vice President of the European Golf Tour
- Awarded Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by The university of St. Andrews, Scotland
- 2010 Voted South Africa's most admired Business Leader
Rupert is a former cricketer and founded the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in 1990. Laureus funds 65 projects globally, with the goal of using sport to tackle social issues, having a particular emphasis on underprivileged children. He co-founded the Sports Science Institute with his friends Morne du Plessis and Tim Noakes.
Rupert also developed the Gary Player designed, Leopard Creek Golf Club in Mpumalanga, South Africa which is one of South Africa's top three golf courses, and rated number 25 outside the United States of America (Golf Digest)). He has also played in the annual Gary Player Invitational golf tournament to assist fellow South African and friend Gary Player raise funds for various children's charities.
He serves as Chairman of the South African PGA Tour and Chairman of the South African Golf Development Board. In 2007 he was elected into South African Sports Hall of Fame and in 2009 was inducted into South African Golf Hall of Fame
Following his younger brother Anthonij's death in a car accident in 2001 he took over the L'Ormarins wine estate. Anthonij, was head of Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons. Rupert initiated a project to enhance the farm in memory of his late brother.
He was council member of The South Africa Foundation and trustee of the Southern African Nature Foundation, The Institute of Directors in Southern Africa, Business South Africa and Die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns and Managing Trustee and member of the investment committee, Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. He served on the Daimler Chrysler International Advisory Board.
Following in the footsteps of his father, Anton, Johann Rupert is also a committed conservationist. In addition to personally conserving about 25,000 hectares in the Graaff Reinet area, he is also Chairman of the Peace Parks Foundation.
When the British design magazine Wallpaper* described the Afrikaans language as "the ugliest language in the world" in its September 2005 edition (in reference to the Afrikaans Language Monument), Rupert responded by withdrawing advertising for his companies' brands such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Montblanc and Alfred Dunhill from the magazine.
- "Meininger Award 2006". Archived from the original on 2008-03-25. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
- "Chancellor - Profile of Dr Johan Rupert". Sun.ac.za. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
- "Johann Rupert becomes Honorary Life Vice President". European Tour. 2010-05-23. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
- "2010 | University of St Andrews". St-andrews.ac.uk. 2010-07-13. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
- "Home". Ssisa.com. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
- "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. 2006-02-16. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
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