Business Leader, Entrepreneur
Johann Rupert is known for diversifying his family’s tobacco and alcohol empire – Rembrandt – where he expanded into foreign markets. He is chairman of the Richemont, a luxury goods company, after resigning as CEO following a successful turnaround, and is also the non-executive chair of South African-based companies VenFin and Remgro.
- Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Compagnie Financière Richemont SA Chairman of the Board of Reinet Investments Manager S.A
- Advisory Board member of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund since its inception
- Chancellor of the Stellenbosch University
Rupert played a strategic role in setting up Vodacom, the cellular communication specialist group in Africa. Johann was also crucial in setting up Tracker Network (Pty) Ltd, which specialises in stolen vehicle recovery systems.
He holds many prestigious accolades, including being elected the Sunday Times Businessman of the Year and Business leader of the Year by Die Burger newspaper and the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce. In 1992 Johann was elected one of 200 Global leaders of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in economics by the University of Stellenbosch.
Rupert founded Rand Merchant Bank in 1979 when he returned to South Africa after working and studying in New York for five years. He served as Chief Executive Officer and thereafter Non-Executive Chairman. In 1985 he was appointed Executive Director of Rembrandt Group Ltd. During 1988 he set up and was appointed Executive Chairman of Richemont SA and Managing Director of Compagnie Financière Richemont AG. In 2002 he was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive of Compagnie Financière Richemont SA.
In 2005 Rupert sold Vodacom to Vodafone for R21bn through the restructuring of VenFin Limited. In 2006 he was appointed Chairman of the Peace Parks Foundation. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Commerce by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in 2008.
At the beginning of 2009 he was appointed “Officier” of the French “Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur” by the President of France. He has been an Advisory Board member of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund since its start. As founder member of the Small Business Development Corporation in 1979, he is now Chairman of the organisation renamed as Business Partners Ltd. In 2009 he was elected as the Chancellor of the Stellenbosch University.