JOHANNESBURG – Zimbabwean born Lonmin chief executive officer and director Ben Magara has been named among the top 10 most influential men in 2014 by Forbes Magazine.
Appointed Lonmin boss in July last year at the world’s third-largest platinum mining company, Magara is tasked with improving industrial relations and guiding the platinum miner’s turnaround strategy after strikes last year triggered violence which killed 46 people including 34 strikers shot dead by police in a single day at its Marikana mine.
Magara, who speaks seven languages, has a degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Zimbabwe.
According to Forbes, the 2014 list of the “10 Most Powerful Men In Africa” follows the inaugural list of The 10 Youngest Power Men In Africa in 2011.
Much like the annual The 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa list, the 2014 list of the “10 Most Powerful Men In Africa” distinguishes and celebrates the accomplishments of Africa’s most outstanding male game changers.
“Our list is distinctive in that it identifies African men who are innovative, courageous, daring and often disruptive in their fields,” Forbes said.
“The list highlights African entrepreneurs, corporate executives, social entrepreneurs, political and civil leaders who are changing the continent and the world around them, often times without much fanfare.”
Magara started his mining career with Anglo American 26 years ago working through the traditional mining ranks starting off as a miner, supervisor, mine overseer, production & mine manager and general manager.
Other people on the list include Kola Karim, group managing director and chief executive officer of Shoreline Energy International in Nigeria, Ashish Thakkar, Founder and Managing Director of Mara Group, Mara Foundation and Mara Online in Uganda and Cameroon’s Mamadou Toure, founder and executive director of Africa 2.0
Senegal’s Amadou Mahtar Ba, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the African Media Initiative and Simdul Shagaya, Tech Entrepreneur and Founder of Konga.com and DealDey.com of Nigeria also make up the list.
Ben Magara’s profile
Full Name: Bennetor Magara
Position: CEO of Lonmin since July 1, 2013
Main activity of the company: Mining platinum
Date and place of birth: June 24, 1967, Bikita, Zimbabwe
Education: BSc (Eng) (Hon), University of Zimbabwe, 1990; ADP, London Business School; AMP, Gordon Institute of Business Science
First job: Underground miner
Size of first pay packet: Z$1 164 a month
Size of Capital Portfolio: The market capitalisation of Lonmin is £1.9-billion (R26-billion)
Number of people under your leadership: 38 000, made up of 28 000 permanent employees and 10 000 contracting personnel
Management style: I inspire and empower people to work to a purpose and have fun
Best personal achievement: My wife and two sons
Best business achievement: Being CEO of Anglo Coal South Africa at 38 years of age
Person who has had the biggest influence on your career: My mother
Person you would most like to meet: Richard Branson – again
Businessperson who has impressed you most: Richard Branson
Philosophy of Life: Making a positive difference and having fun in all that I do
Biggest ever opportunity: Turning around the New Denmark colliery’s safety, production, costs and culture
Biggest ever disappointment: The death of a fellow miner
Hope for the future: A flourishing Zimbabwe
Favourite reading: Business and strategy
Favourite television programme: News and sports
Favourite food/drink: Scones/still water
Favourite music: Rock and jazz
Favourite sport: Golf and squash
Hobbies: People, having fun and the outdoors
Cars: Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota Hi-Lux
Dislikes: Laziness and inaction
Married: To Gumisayi
Children: Makomborero ‘Kombo’ and Mazvita