The man who will take over the Rupert empire

Anton Rupert, Johann Rupert’s son, is set to take over the family empire. This empire includes control over three holding companies, Richemont, Remgro, and Reinet, as well as the family’s vast wealth.

Born into the prominent Rupert family in 1987, Anton Jr. is the grandson of Anton Rupert, the founder of the Rembrandt Group.

Anton Sr.’s ventures in the 1940s are the foundation of the Rupert family’s wealth. He established Voorbrand, a tobacco company, in the 1940s.

Voorbrand was the forerunner of Rembrandt, which entered the South African cigarette and tobacco industry in 1948.

Rembrandt was a runaway success in South Africa, listing on the JSE less than a decade after being founded.

In the 1970s, Rembrandt expanded into other industries, such as financial services, mining, engineering, and food.

Johann joined his father’s company in 1984 and, soon after, spun off Rembrandt’s international assets to form Compagnie Financiere Richemont.

Compagnie Financiere Richemont is a Swiss luxury goods holding company that owns brands like Cartier and Montblanc. 

In 1991, he was appointed chairman of Rembrandt.

Rembrandt and Richemont consolidated their tobacco interests in Rothmans International In 1995. A few years later, it merged these interests with those of British American Tobacco. 

Big changes were made in 2000 when Rembrandt was restructured into two publicly traded holding companies – Remgro and Venfin.

Remgro oversaw Rembrandt’s traditional assets, while Venfin acquired the technology-oriented assets.

Less than a decade later, Remgro and VenFin merged to form the current version of Remgro, of which Johann is still the chairman.

In 2000, Johann was appointed chairman and CEO of Richemont, and the company’s non-luxury-related activities were spun off into Reinet Investments in 2008.

Today, he is the chairman of Remgro, Richemont and Reinet, which have a combined market cap of R15.08 trillion.

Richemont is the largest company among the three, with a market cap of R14.92 trillion. Reinet has a market cap of R89.71 billion, and Remgro has a market cap of R74.27 billion.

Succeeding Johann Rupert

Johann Rupert

Recently, Richemont named Nicolas Bos as its new chief executive officer in a management shuffle that saw chairman and controlling shareholder Johann give up some of his management duties.

Bos, who previously headed jewellery maker Van Cleef & Arpels, took the role on 1 June and joined the senior executive committee.

“Nicolas has proven himself in operating Van Cleef and building Van Cleef into a proper powerhouse,” Rupert said at the time.

Bos, who has been with Richemont for over three decades, is taking over some management responsibilities and reporting lines previously handled by Johann, who is 73.

“I’m not stepping back, but I am asking Nicolas to assume some of the direct line reporting that I used to handle,” Rupert said.

Johann has been tight-lipped about his plans for the future leadership of Richemont and the broader family businesses. 

In a 2022 interview, he confirmed having a succession plan but refused to disclose details, stating that revealing it would put undue pressure on the chosen successor.

Rupert merely said the non-executive directors on the board are aware of the succession plan and are in agreement.

While Rupert’s succession plans have not been made public, many assume Anton Rupert Jr. is the most likely candidate to succeed his father.

However, very little is known about the man who stands to take over three companies worth over R15 trillion and his family’s R200 billion net wealth.

Anton made headlines in 2008 when he crashed his father’s 1995 Ferrari F50 and in 2015 when his neighbours complained about excessive noise at his home at De Waterkant in Green Point, Cape Town.

Slightly more is known about Anton Jr.’s life as a businessman and his various directorship roles.

He was appointed to Richemont’s board as a non-executive director in 2017, is a member of the Strategic Security Committee, and was a member of the Nominations Committee until April 2022.

He was a director of from July 2018 to December 2019 and was a director of MQA Limited, a company specialising in innovative music coding technology, from April 2015 to March 2023.

He currently serves as a non‑executive director of Remgro – he was appointed to the board in 2018 – and he is a partner of Compagnie Financière Rupert.

Anton Jr. is a non-voting observer designated by Reinet Fund S.C.A., F.I.S. to the board of Carbon, Inc., a leading digital manufacturing platform. 

Since January 2021, he has been a member of the Advisory Board of Asia Partners Fund LP I, a regional South East Asia private equity fund focused on growth-stage technology‑based opportunities.

“He brings valuable insight into changing consumer behaviour in digital marketing and web-based commerce and has had extensive exposure to all of the group’s businesses since 2009,” according to Remgro’s website.

He also served as a director of the Gary Player-designed Leopard Creek golf course, owned by Johann Rupert.

He was also a director of the Rupert family’s Franschhoek Motor Museum and their L’Ormarins Wine Estate.


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