Mick Davis, the South African born former chief executive of Xstrata, has been knighted by the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II for services related to holocaust commemoration and education.
Davis, who made £75 million after Xstrata’s takeover by Glencore in 2013, is the chair of the UK’s Holocaust Commission, which was set up by prime minister David Cameron in 2013. The commission was tasked with establishing what more Britain needed to do to ensure that the memory of the Holocaust is preserved.
The challenge was to find ways to ensure that every generation can have the resources, access to survivor testimony, places to go to and the technology needed to learn how the acceptance of hatred, poisonous words and discrimination led to such horrific violence. The completed report was handed to the Prime Minister in January.
Davis joins about 1 100 other people – 51% of whom are women – who were recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours this year. Of these just 30, including Davis, received the Knights Bachelor award. Others knighted include Harshad Bhadeshia, the Tata Steel professor of Metallurgy at Cambridge University for services to science and technology, and the 101-year old Naim Dangoor for philanthropic services.
New dames include Zarine Kharas, founder of JustGiving.com, and Oxford physiologist Professor Frances Ashcroft, according to information on the UK government website www.gov.uk/honours/honours-lists.
At the time of its takeover, the Anglo/Swiss Xstrata was one of the world’s largest global diversified mining and metals companies, which Davis grew in a ten-year period from a market value of US$500 million to US$60 billion, employing more than 90 000 people and operating in over 22 countries.
Previously, Davis was an executive director and CFO of Billiton and chairman of Billiton Coal. Prior to this he was an executive director of Eskom.
He has since started another company, X2 Resources – an emerging mining and metals company.
In a personal capacity, Davis is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Leadership Council. This is the umbrella body for Jewish charities and institutions in the United Kingdom. He is also a trustee of the Kew Foundation, which supports the work of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and is a member of the Board of Honorary Directors of the Royal Opera House.
Prior to settling in the UK, Davis played an active role in Jewish communal affairs in South Africa.
Davis was born on February 15, 1958, and was educated at Theodor Herzl School in Port Elizabeth. It was here that he formed a friendship with Ivan Glasenberg, chief executive of Glencore.
Davis has a B Comm from Rhodes and is a qualified accountant.