In partnership with

What keeps Johann Rupert awake at night

Jun 08 2015 15:10
Andrew Roberts and Thomas Mulier

Johann Rupert

Company Data


Last traded 122
Change -3
% Change -3
Cumulative volume 5484776
Market cap 0

Last Updated: 01/01/0001 at 12:00. Prices are delayed by 15 minutes. Source: McGregor BFA

Related Articles

Rupert, Nhleko’s fund raises $345m for infrastructure

Rupert positive despite Richemont challenges

What makes a nation successful?

Johann Rupert: Honesty in government under attack

SA’s young democracy is holding, ejecting dark forces

David Shapiro: Johann Rupert is spot on – business is voting with its feet


Monaco - South African billionaire Johann Rupert, who has made billions peddling Cartier jewelry and Chloe fashion, said on Monday tension between the rich and poor is set to escalate as robots and artificial intelligence fuel mass unemployment.

“We cannot have 0.1 percent of 0.1 percent taking all the spoils,” said Rupert, who has a fortune worth R94.52bn ($7.5bn), according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “It’s unfair and it is not sustainable.”

The founder and chairperson of Richemont [JSE:CFR], whose 20 brands also include Vacheron Constantin and Montblanc, said he expects advances in technology to lead to job losses after having read books on the subject recently.

Conflicts between social classes will make selling luxury goods more tricky as the rich will want to conceal their wealth, Rupert said in a speech on Monday at the Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit in Monaco.

“How is society going to cope with structural unemployment and the envy, hatred and the social warfare?” he said. “We are destroying the middle classes at this stage and it will affect us. It’s unfair. So that’s what keeps me awake at night.”

Rupert, a university dropout whose father made a fortune setting up Rembrandt Tobacco Corporation and selling it off, has in the past made other social critiques. Nicknamed ‘Rupert the Bear’ for his pessimistic views on the economy, the 65-year-old refers to himself as a “reformed prostitute”, having spent a decade as an investment banker.

He said in 2008 that the collateral damage from the financial crisis was yet to come.

“We’re in for a huge change in society,” he said on Monday. “Get used to it. And be prepared.”

Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.


Read Fin24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Company Snapshot

We're talking about: MINI BUDGET

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has laid bare South Africa's economic woes. Visit our Mini Budget Special for all the action.

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

Free education in South Africa is:

Previous results · Suggest a vote