The student and founder of an industrial giant, entrepreneur and Brexit supporter Jim Ratcliffe is now in the limelight after he has collected the largest fortune in the United Kingdom, which he transferred to Monaco.
The 65-year-old businessman, head of the Ineos Chemicals Group, was the first British fortune in 2018 with a power estimated at 21 billion pounds (23.5 billion euros), according to the ranking that was established in May by the Sunday Times.
He was only 18 years ago, but the value of his business, of which he owns 60%, has been greatly revised.
Nothing has predetermined Jim Ratcliffe to become a billionaire and recently to be bred by the Queen, who grew up in social housing on the outskirts of Manchester (north of England).
The former chemistry student at the University of Birmingham and an MBA from the London Business School shoved Ineos into the shadow and became an industrial moloch in a country dominated by the services sector.
Sir Jim spent several years at the investment company Advent International before starting business in the business world for 40 years and then founding Ineos in 1998.
His group now has annual sales of $ 60 billion and employs more than 18,000 people at 171 locations in 24 countries.
Ineos grew through acquisitions, including the $ 9 billion subsidiary of the petrochemical group Innovene, a subsidiary of BP, which allowed it to change its size.
On that occasion, the billionaire had bought the gigantic Grangemouth refinery in Scotland, where relations with the trade unions had nevertheless been heated.
Jim Ratcliffe also strongly believes in shale gas and, at the end of 2016, is organizing the arrival from the United States of the first cargo destined for the United Kingdom. The entrepreneur would even try his luck by exploring British soil, but his claims are slow in a country that is unwilling to embark on this adventure.
The chemicals manufactured by Ineos can also be found in many everyday products, from shower gel to medication.
Never a shortage of challenges, Mr Ratcliffe continues to diversify his group in the automotive sector with the aim of giving a successor to the famous 4×4 Land Rover Defender. The group has to decide in the coming months whether it will choose the United Kingdom or a continental European country as a gathering place.
Ratcliffe, also a marathon runner, has also invested in other areas by getting the specialist in Belstaff motorcycle clothing or by purchasing the Swiss football club FC Lausanne, Manchester United's fan.
Despite his success, the man remained mysterious for a long time, some of whom found it "secret" and "lonely" and decorated it with suggestive nicknames such as "JR" from the Dallas series or "Dr. No", the villain of the first film of the James Bond saga, according to a portrait published by the Financial Times in 2014.
This discretion is also a trademark of the Ineos group that is not listed on the stock exchange and therefore is not required to make its accounts public.
The businessman, however, positions himself on the thorny issue of Brexit, and appears as one of the few bosses who support the exit of the EU, such as the entrepreneur James Dyson.
"The British are perfectly capable of taking care of the British and do not need Brussels to tell them how to do it," he told the Sunday Times a year before the June 2016 referendum.
He insured, however, of insuring his back and, according to the British press, decided to transfer his assets to Monaco, with the principality known for its tax system that is beneficial for large fortunes.
Tax issues had already prompted him to relocate his company's headquarters in Switzerland in 2010 before he repatriated him to London in 2016, saying he wanted to show his confidence in the British economy despite the upcoming Brexit.