ONCE Britain’s richest man (see our sister Asian Rich List 2009), Lakshmi Mittal is probably at least thinking about full retirement from the cut and thrust of being at the helm of the world’s largest steel company, ArcelorMittal.
Valued at more than some $50 billion as a company with nearly 170,000 employees, the Indian-born 71-year-old tycoon still remains something of an enigma. He has not done many interviews and rarely speaks to the media about anything.
Many of those who know him say he is the consummate dealmaker – and the proof is very much there in the pudding – though from a successful Marwari trading family who had interests in steel, he branched out to manage his own plant in Indonesia and has never looked back.
His skill is in management and strategic planning – plotting his moves rather like a grand chess master.
Each move would leave him stronger and more capable of making the next.
It was reported in February 2022 that Kazakhstan president Kassym Jomart Tokayev had met Mittal via a videoconference to discuss ArcelorMittal Temirtau (AT) – his Kazakh outfit there which he acquired in 1995 and is a metal and mining complex and has one of the world’s largest integrated steel plants. The nearby town of Temirtau has more than 150,000 inhabitants and many work for AT.
Nothing spectacular appears to have come out of the meeting but the government there is keen for better safety and increased investment in cutting carbon emissions (with a target of 30 per cent by 2024 and half by 2030) and creating a better environment for Karaganda region and better pay for AT employees.
Mittal’s ability to wheel and deal and see opportunities where others hesitated is perhaps well documented now, but in in 2006 his successful bid