Who's who in the $90b mega-merger

Mick Davis

Mick Davis

This week mining company Xstrata and commodity traders Glencore announced what has been described as a mega-merger, worth in the region of $90 billion.

The two companies may have a new relationship but the respective bosses go back a long way.

Mick Davis, the chief executive of Xstrata and his counterpart, Ivan Glasenberg, both South African Jews, originally met at the University of Witwatersrand, when they were much younger and several billion pounds poorer.

It was a relationship that endured over the years. It is thought that Mr Glasenberg recommended Mr Davis for his role as chief executive of Xstrata (Glencore held 34 per cent of Xstrata shares) and that the two met for a quiet dinner in London last December to cement their relationship into a business marriage.

Ivan Glasenberg

Ivan Glasenberg

British Jews are more familiar with Mr Davis as a communal leader than as a corporate giant.

"Mick the Miner" as he is known at work, is also chairman of UJIA and of the executive of the Jewish Leadership Council. He was a stalwart defender of Israel during the controversial Operation Cast Lead in Gaza three years ago but also provoked criticism by accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of "lacking the courage to take the steps" to advance the peace process. He also urged diaspora Jews to voice constructive criticism of Israeli leaders.

Mr Glasenberg's profile was much lower until Glencore was listed on the London and Hong Kong stock markets in 2011, netting him an estimated $10 billion.

He, like, Mr Davis has links with Israel. Mr Glasenberg was an accomplished race walker in his youth, but could not compete internationally due to the ban on apartheid-era South Africa. Mr Glasenberg attempted to take on Israeli nationality in order to qualify for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, but left his registration too late. He joined Glencore the same year and worked his way up the corporate ladder, becoming chief executive in 2002. In the newly-merged company Mr Davis will be chief executive and Mr Glasenberg deputy chief executive.

    Last updated: 12:47pm, February 9 2012