Colour and excitement returned to the City yesterday as Glencore announced a former French foreign legionnaire, Algerian war veteran, author, explorer and financier as its new chairman.
Simon Murray (pictured) will be tasked with leading the firm’s up-to $11bn (£6.7bn) float, valuing it at about $60bn, the details of which were confirmed yesterday.
The move heralded a return to the days when interesting and complex characters, rather than faceless executives, ran the City.
Earlier this week, Murray said: “This is very exciting, but you are talking to someone who has been chased by a leopard. You are talking to someone who has been shot at with a machine gun and missed.”
Murray, whose tales of derring-do include carrying two severed heads in his backpack during his time in the French Foreign Legion, was born in Leicester in central England. As a teenager in 1960 he joined the Foreign Legion on a whim, going on to fight for five years in Algeria. He later wrote a bestseller, “Legionnaire”, about his time in north Africa.
It was made into a film in 2002.
Educated at Bedford School, one of England’s oldest public schools, Murray was turned down by the British Army before signing up with the Foreign Legion.
“I think perhaps I was just a young buck without much confidence in himself setting an extreme challenge to see if he could hack it in a man’s world,” he says in his book.
He has since run a 240km race in the Moroccan desert, climbed Mount Everest and become the oldest man to walk unsupported to the South Pole. Glencore unveiled its blockbuster initial public offering (IPO) to the market yesterday, following months of speculation.
According to Wikipedia, he has been awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) by H.M. The Queen, and the Order of Merit of the French Republic and is a “Chevalier de La Legion d’Honneur”. He holds an Honorary Degree in law, from Bath University and attended the (SEP) Stanford Executive Programme in the US. He also trekked to the South Pole in his sixties.
Murray married long-time sweetheart, the former Jennifer Mather, with whom he has three children. Jennifer Murray was the first woman to fly around the world in a helicopter.
What a family