Jonathan Oppenheimer

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Person.png Jonathan Oppenheimer  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Jonathan Oppenheimer.png
Born18 November 1969
NationalitySouth African
Alma materHarrow School, Christ Church (Oxford)
ParentsNicky Oppenheimer
SpouseJennoifer Ward
Member ofCarnegie Endowment for International Peace, WEF/Global Leaders for Tomorrow/2002, WEF/Young Global Leaders/2005
RelativesErnest Oppenheimer

Jonathan M. E. Oppenheimer is a South African billionaire businessman and conservationist, and the Executive Chairman of Oppenheimer Generations,[1] a former chairman of De Beers and a former vice-president of his family's firm, Anglo American Corporation.

He was selected a Global Leader for Tomorrow in 2002 and in the continuation program Young Global Leaders in 2005 by the World Economic Forum.

Early life and education

Jonathan is the son of former De Beers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer; he is the great-grandson of Anglo-American founder Ernest Oppenheimer, who was the first generation of the family to chair (from 1929) the De Beers diamond mining company in South Africa, founded by Cecil Rhodes in 1888.[2]

He was educated at Harrow School and Christ Church, Oxford.[3] He played first-class cricket for Oxford University Cricket Club.[4]


Jonathan Oppenheimer began his career working at N M Rothschild & Sons, then moved to Anglo American, where he became senior vice-president, in 1999. After leaving Anglo American in 2000, he filled numerous senior roles at De Beers diamond mining company, and became chairman, until 2012. He was the third generation of his family to lead De Beers. He was also involved in the transactions to de-list De Beers, in 2001, and to sell the Oppenheimer family stake to Anglo American, in 2012. This sale concluded 85 years of the Oppenheimer family's controlling position in the world's diamond trade. [5]. He is currently the director of E. Oppenheimer & Son Ltd.[6]

Other activities

In 2003, Jonathan and Nicky Oppenheimer published The Brenthurst Initiative, a policy paper on black economic empowerment in South Africa.

Oppenheimer has been involved in many aspects of his family’s activities, including establishing the Brenthurst Foundation, a Johannesburg-based think-tank which examines ways to drive Africa's sustainable growth, and the formation of Tana Africa Capital, a joint venture between the Oppenheimer family and Temasek Holdings (Singapore) to pursue African consumer goods business opportunities.

He has sat on boards and advisory panels, including the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Economy (Malawi), established by the Brenthurst Foundation, and Umicore, a listed specialty chemicals company, as a non-executive director. Alongside his father he founded Oppenheimer Generations,[7] with interests in various companies and non-profits such as the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance.[8]

Oppenheimer purchased Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, immediately ended hunting, and improved conditions for wild animals found there. World Wide Fund for Nature recognized Oppenheimer's conservation work in 2007.

Personal life

Oppenheimer was married to Jennifer Ward until her death in 2017.[9] He has three children.


Event Participated in

WEF/Annual Meeting/200421 January 200425 January 2004Switzerland
World Economic Forum
2068 billionaires, CEOs and their politicians and "civil society" leaders met under the slogan Partnering for Prosperity and Security. "We have the people who matter," said World Economic Forum Co-Chief Executive Officer José María Figueres.
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