Nicholas Oppenheimer was born on the 8th of June 1945 to Bridget and Harry Oppenheimer. He is the grandson of the founder of Anglo American, Ernest Oppenheimer, the first generation to chair De Beers, a diamond mining conglomerate. He earned an MA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Christ Church-Oxford College.
Oppenheimer’s career began in 1968 with his role at Anglo American, a British multinational mining company headquartered in London, England. He eventually rose to the position of director in 1974 and then became deputy chairman in 1983. He resigned in 2001 and remained a non-executive director until 2011.
Nicholas Oppenheimer: Mining His way to Billions
In 1984, Oppenheimer was named deputy chairman of the Central Selling Organisation, now the Diamond Trading Company, and in 1985, became deputy chairman of De Beers Consolidated Mines. In 1985, he was also named chairman of the Diamond Trading Company. Between 1998 and 2012, he served as Chairman of the De Beers Group, retiring after the family 40% of its stake to Anglo American, the same company where it all started for Oppenheimer. He is the third generation of his family to run DeBeers, taking the company private in 2001.
On the back of such a remarkable career in the mining industry, Nicholas Oppenheimer is Africa’s third-richest man, with a net worth of $8.15 billion. Following his mining business in England, Oppenheimer was named the 23rd richest person in the United Kingdom in the Sunday Times Rich List 2018. Until 2012, the Oppenheimer family held a commanding position in the diamond trade for 85 years. Nicholas Oppenheimer founded Fireblade Aviation in Johannesburg in 2014, which specialises in chartered flights. He owns at least 720 square kilometres of conservation land across South Africa.
Oppenheimer’s philanthropic efforts are channelled towards maintaining the historical and cultural significance of southern Africa, as well as larger community advancements in education, health, environmental conservation, and the arts.
“It is only through developing and maximizing all its natural resources that a sustainable future for Africa and its people can be secured”, he said.