Nicholas F. Oppenheimer (born 8 June 1945) is a South African billionaire businessman. He was formerly the chairman of De Beers diamond mining company and of its subsidiary, the Diamond Trading Company, and former deputy chairman of Anglo American. He is the third richest man in Africa.
Oppenheimer (right) with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2006
|Born||8 June 1945|
Christ Church, Oxford
|Net worth||US$7.4 billion (April 2019)|
Oppenheimer is the son of Bridget (née McCall) and Harry Oppenheimer, and grandson of Anglo American founder Ernest Oppenheimer (the first generation to chair De Beers, from 1929). His father was of German Jewish descent. He was educated at Harrow School and Christ Church, Oxford, where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics, earning an Oxford MA.
Oppenheimer joined Anglo American in 1968, was appointed a director in 1974, then became deputy chairman in 1983. He resigned in 2001, remaining a non-executive director until 2011.
He was appointed deputy chairman of the then Central Selling Organisation (now Diamond Trading Company) in 1984, and deputy chairman of De Beers Consolidated Mines in 1985. He was also appointed chairman of the Diamond Trading Company in 1985. Chairman of the De Beers Group from 1998 to 2012, he retired when the family stake was sold to Anglo American.
Oppenheimer appeared on the Sunday Times Rich List 2018 as the 23rd richest person in the United Kingdom, with a reported fortune of £5.5 billion. He was ranked as the richest person in South Africa on Forbes list of The World's Billionaires for 2019, with a fortune reported as US$7.3 billion and, again, on its 2020 list, with a reported fortune of US$7.6 billion in August 2020.
The Oppenheimer family has directed much of its philanthropic efforts towards preserving the heritage and cultural importance of the Southern African region, as well as to broader community upliftment in the areas of education, health, nature conservation and the arts. Nicky Oppenheimer and his son Jonathan Oppenheimer established the Brenthurst Foundation in 2005 as a way to contribute to the debate around strategies and policies for strengthening Africa's economic performance and enabling inclusive and sustainable development.
The family has also long been involved in environmental and conservation issues. The Oppenheimer family partnered with De Beers to establish the Diamond Route in 2006 to maximise the potential of their properties for conservation, research and environmental awareness purposes. The Diamond Route links 8 sites across northern South Africa, stretching from Namaqualand on the west coast, to Kimberley, north to Tswalu in the Kalahari, and to the Brenthurst Gardens in Johannesburg, eastwards to Ezemvelo Nature Reserve and northwards to the Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve in Limpopo Province. Since 2015 Oppenheimer is also a Rhodes Trustee.
In 2003, the Technikon Witwatersrand awarded Oppenheimer an honorary doctorate. He received the Presidential Order of Honor (2004) from the former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, and an honorary fellowship (2009) from the London Business School.
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- Mostert, © Duncan MacFadyen, © Warwick. "The Diamond Route Story". www.diamondroute.com. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
- "Current Trustees". Rhodes House. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
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- Polished Prices: "Weekly Market Report" 5 September 2010
- Israeli Diamond: "Nicky Oppenheimer Takes helm as Debswana Chairman" Archived 29 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine 1 September 2010
- Minchom, Clive (11 June 2013). "Diamonds May Not Be For Ever – But at the Moment They Look Pretty Good". Jewish Business News. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
- Nicholas Oppenheimer (November 2001). Waltham Place: and its Surrounding Parish. ASIN 0954166906.
- Biography from De Beers
- Oppenheimer's Waltham Place Gardens and Farm
- Interview in The Guardian, 2005
- Profile in The Economist, 2003
Harry Frederick Oppenheimer
| Chairman of De Beers Consolidated Mines