Jim Ratcliffe

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Sir Jim Ratcliffe
Jim Ratcliffe PET 2013 03 25 DSC 0554.JPG
Jim Ratcliffe (2013)
Born James Arthur Ratcliffe
(1952-10-18) 18 October 1952 (age 65)
Failsworth, Lancashire, England
Residence Chelsea, London
Hampshire, England
Nationality British
Education Beverley Grammar School
Alma mater University of Birmingham
London Business School
Occupation Chairman and CEO, Ineos
Net worth £21.05 billion
(US$32 billion) (April 2018)[1]
  • Amanda Townson
    (m. 1985; div. 1995)
  • Alicia
Children 3

Sir James Arthur Ratcliffe (born 18 October 1952) is a British billionaire chemical engineer turned financier and industrialist.[2] Ratcliffe is the chairman and chief executive officer of the Ineos chemicals group, which he founded in 1998 and still owns two-thirds of, and which has been estimated to have a turnover of $80 billion. He does not have a high public profile, and has been described by The Sunday Times as "publicity shy".[3][4] On 13 May 2018 he was named as the richest person in the UK, with a net worth of £21.05 billion.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Failsworth, Lancashire, the son of a father who was a joiner and a mother who was an accounts office worker, Ratcliffe lived there in a council house until the age of ten. His father eventually ran a factory making laboratory furniture.[6] Aged ten, he moved with his family to Yorkshire, and Ratcliffe attended Beverley Grammar School and lived in Hull up to the age of 18.[6]

Ratcliffe graduated from the University of Birmingham with a degree in chemical engineering in 1974.[6] He graduated from the London Business School in 1980, and donated £25m to the school in 2016.[6]


His first job was with oil giant Esso, but he decided to broaden his skills into finance by studying management accounting and taking an MBA at London Business School. In 1989, he joined US private equity group Advent International.[7]


Ratcliffe was a co-founder of INSPEC, which leased the former BP Chemicals site in Antwerp, Belgium. In 1998 Ratcliffe formed Ineos in Hampshire to buy-out INSPEC and the freehold of the Antwerp site.

From this small base, using high-yield debt to finance deals, Ratcliffe started buying unwanted operations from groups such as ICI and BP, selecting targets based on their potential to double their earnings over a five-year period. In 2006 Ineos bought BP's refining and petrochemical arm Innovene, giving Ineos refineries and plants in Scotland, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium and Canada.[3][4]

In April 2010, Ratcliffe moved Ineos's head office from Hampshire to Rolle, Switzerland, decreasing the amount of tax the company paid by £100m a year.[8]

In 2015, Ratcliffe opened the UK headquarters of the chemicals and energy group in Knightsbridge, London along with gas and oil trading, and other functions, saying he was "very cheerful about coming back to the UK”. He was pleased with UK policy, London as a business base, and untroubled by the prospect of Brexit. Full year 2015 EBITDA was €577 million compared to €253 million for 2014.[9]

On 13 November 2017, Ratcliffe became the owner of FC Lausanne-Sport, a Swiss Super League football club.[10]

In the Sunday Times Rich List 2018 he was named as the richest man in the UK, with a net worth of £21.05 billion.[5]


In May 2009, Ratcliffe was granted an honorary fellowship by the Institution of Chemical Engineers citing “his sustained leadership in building the Ineos Group.”[11] In 2013 he received the Petrochemical Heritage Award.[12] Ratcliffe was appointed Knight Bachelor in the 2018 Birthday Honours for services to business and to investment.[13]

Personal life[edit]

In 1985, Ratcliffe married Amanda Townson, they had two sons, and divorced in 1995.[6][14][15] He has one daughter with his second wife, Alicia.[6][16]

He lives in Chelsea, London,[16] and Hampshire, England.[1] In May 2017, he submitted his fifth plan, less ambitious than the first four, to build a "luxury home" at Thorns Beach, near Beaulieu, on the Hampshire coast, which would replace an existing two-bedroom bungalow.[17] In August 2018, The Guardian reported that Ratcliffe was moving to Monaco for income tax related reasons.[18]

Ratcliffe enjoys skiing and sailing,[19] and is also reported to have completed the 2007 London Marathon.[20] He has owned two super yachts, Hampshire and Hampshire II. His first yacht was built as Barbara Jean by Feadship. In 2012 he took delivery of the 78 metres (256 ft) Feadship Hampshire II, built by Royal van Lent, which he still owns.[21]

Ratcliffe enjoys physical adventure and has made expeditions to the North and South Poles, as well as a three-month-long motorbike trek in South Africa, and has founded a charity "Go Run for Fun", encouraging thousands of children aged between five and ten, to get active by creating celebrity-driven events.[22]

In August 2018, Ratcliffe was rumoured to be keen to buy Chelsea Football Club from Roman Abramovich for £2 billion, which prompted the club to issue a vehement denial.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Forbes profile: James Ratcliffe". Forbes. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  2. ^ List of companies related to Jim Ratcliffe - http://www.flixens.com/director/james-arthur-ratcliffe
  3. ^ a b Dominic O’Connell (29 April 2007). "Ratcliffe in richest top 10". London: Times Online. Retrieved 22 June 2008.
  4. ^ a b Grainne Gilmore (21 April 2008). "Business big shot: Jim Ratcliffe". London: The Times. Retrieved 22 June 2008.
  5. ^ a b Watts, Robert, ed. (13 May 2018). "The Rich List: At last, the self-made triumph over old money". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Pfeifer, Sylvia (7 February 2014). "Jim Ratcliffe". FT. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  7. ^ "The quiet entrepreneur who is as wealthy as Richard Branson, but nowhere near as famous". Liverpool Daily Post. 17 March 2010. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  8. ^ "The Times & The Sunday Times". thetimes.co.uk. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  9. ^ Author. "Q4, 2015 Trading Statement". www.ineos.com. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  10. ^ Wilson, Bill (13 November 2017). "Chemicals giant Ineos buys Swiss football team". Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Press release: Ion and Ratcliffe awarded Honorary Fellowships". IChemE. 13 May 2009. Archived from the original on 2 June 2009.
  12. ^ "Petrochemical Heritage Award". Science History Institute. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  13. ^ "No. 62310". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 June 2018. p. B2.
  14. ^ "Who is Jim Ratcliffe?". Evening Times. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  15. ^ "The tycoon". 28 April 2008. Retrieved 19 March 2018 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  16. ^ a b "Chemicals billionaire Jim Ratcliffe". thisismoney.co.uk. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  17. ^ Yandell, Chris (10 May 2017). "Billionaire businessman Jim Ratcliffe has submitted fifth plan to build luxury home overlooking Solent". Southern Daily Echo. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  18. ^ Neate, Rupert (9 August 2018). "Britain's richest person to leave UK for tax-free Monaco". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  19. ^ Northedge, Richard (11 August 2007). "Ratcliffe, the alchemist". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  20. ^ The alchemist" University of Birmingham, Innes Lecture of Chemical Engineering 2007 Nov.
  21. ^ "Motor Yacht Hampshire II". Super Yacht Fan. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  22. ^ Heller, David (16 July 2015). "Ineos owner Jim Ratcliffe: "I'm very cheerful about coming back to the UK"". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 19 July 2015.

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