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Andrew Forrest

Andrew Forrest 2017.jpg
Forrest in 2017
Born
John Andrew Henry Forrest

(1961-11-18) 18 November 1961 (age 62)
Nationality Australian
Education
  • School of the Air
  • Christ Church Grammar School
  • Hale School
Alma mater University of Western Australia
Occupation Non-executive chairman, Fortescue Metals Group
Spouse(s) Nicola Maurice
Children 4
Relatives
  • Mervyn Forrest (grandfather)
  • David Forrest (great-grandfather)
  • John Forrest (great-great uncle)
  • Alexander Forrest (great-great uncle)
Awards

John Andrew Henry Forrest AO (born 18 November 1961), nicknamed Twiggy, is an Australian businessman. He is best known as the former CEO (and current non-executive chairman) of Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), and has other interests in the mining industry and in cattle stations.

With an assessed net worth of A$27.25 billion according to the Financial Review 2021 Rich List, Forrest was ranked as the second richest Australian. According to the Financial Review, Forrest was the richest person in Australia in 2008.

In 2013, Andrew and Nicola Forrest, his wife, were the first Australian billionaires to pledge the majority of their wealth to charity in their lifetimes. He had earlier stepped down as CEO of Fortescue Metals in 2011. Much of the Forrest's philanthropy has been through either the Minderoo Foundation (focusing on education and Indigenous Australians) or the Walk Free Foundation (focusing on ending modern slavery), both of which he established. Forrest has been accused of avoiding paying company tax, having revealed in 2011 that Fortescue had never paid company tax.

In 2022, Andrew Forrest has filed a criminal complaint against Facebook, alleging that the corporation failed to prohibit the use of his image in scam adverts associating his image with investments in cryptocurrencies. The case will be heard in the Western Australian Magistrates Court on 28 March.

Early life

John Andrew Henry Forrest was born on 18 November 1961 in Perth, Western Australia, the youngest of three children of Judith (née Fry) and Donald Forrest. His father, grandfather (Mervyn), and great-grandfather (David) were all managers of Minderoo Station, which David had established in 1878 with his brothers, Alexander and John. John, Alexander, David, and Mervyn were all members of parliament for periods, with John serving as Western Australia's first premier. Forrest's early years were spent at Minderoo, located in the Pilbara region south of Onslow. Minderoo was owned by the Forrest family until it was sold in 1998 by his father due to relentless drought and debt, but it was bought back by Forrest in 2009.

Forrest was educated at Onslow Primary School and through the School of the Air before moving to Perth to attend Christ Church Grammar School and then Hale School. He stuttered as a child, which is how he came to develop a relationship with Ian Black, whose Aboriginal father, Scotty, became Forrest's mentor. Forrest went on to the University of Western Australia where he majored in economics and politics.

In 1991 Forrest married Nicola Maurice, daughter of Tony Maurice who was a major figure in the Australian League of Rights Christian organisation. Nicola's sister, Katrina, is the wife of David Thompson who was the leader of the New Zealand League of Rights in the early 1980s and the leader of the Australian League of Rights during the 1990s. Forrest and David Thompson became friendly associates with Forrest appointing Thompson to a managerial role while he was on the board at Anaconda Nickel.

Career

Anaconda Nickel

After graduating, Forrest worked as a stockbroker at the brokerage houses Kirke Securities and Jacksons. He became the founding CEO of Anaconda Nickel in 1993, after buying a stake in the company. However, in 2001 he was ousted as CEO when the company almost collapsed. US bondholders received $0.26 for each dollar of debt in the restructuring. The company's shares fell by 89% before it was taken over by Glencore and renamed Minara Resources.

Fortescue Metals

In 2003, he took control of Allied Mining and Processing and renamed it Fortescue Metals Group. He is still a major shareholder of FMG, through his private company, The Metal Group. Since then, the company has grown to possess three times the tenements of its nearest rival in Western Australia's iron ore rich Pilbara region. Fortescue holds major deposits at Mount Nicholas, Christmas Creek, Cloudbreak, and Tongolo. In 2007, he took an interest and a directorship in Niagara Mining Limited, renamed Poseidon Nickel Limited, which had in 2006 acquired from WMC the Windara nickel deposits near Laverton, Western Australia.

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission took legal action against FMG and Forrest. Although an initial ruling by Justice John Gilmour in 2009 found Forrest hadn't acted in a misleading or deceptive manner, Chief Justice Patrick Keane and judges Arthur Emmett and Raymond Finkelstein of the Federal Court of Australia overturned this decision in 2011, finding that FMG and its Chairman and CEO, Andrew Forrest, had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and breached the continuous disclosure provisions in the Corporations Act, 2001, by claiming to have binding contracts with China.

The court found that a Chinese framework agreement does not amount to a binding contract, in the natural meaning of the word. If found to have breached director's duties, Forrest faced the possibility of being banned as a director of an ASIC-listed company. FMG appealed against the decision, and in October 2012, the High Court found in favour of FMG and Forrest, reversing the decision of the full bench of the Federal Court and agreeing with the original 2009 decision by Justice Gilmour.

Forrest described the Gillard Government proposed Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) as "economic vandalism" and a "mad dog's breakfast" that would drive up foreign resource ownership. He stated he would challenge it in the High Court as being unconstitutional, as it discriminates against states, and fails to appropriately capture big producers BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. WA premier Colin Barnett has stated the state government would back constitutional action, admitting the tax had been suggested to him as a "sovereign risk". He was highly critical of the government's expenditure of $38M on an advertising campaign, that was not approved using the usual processes, as it had to "counter mining industry 'spin' about the resources super profits tax".

The former treasurer Wayne Swan said the big miners would pay at least A$2 billion tax, and wrote to the head of BDO Accounting, who modelled the claims Forrest used, noting they were "utterly unrealistic" and riddled with errors. Treasury concurred that they would be unable to release the assumptions underpinning its forecasts, as they were based on confidential information provided by the big miners. Gillard struck a deal with BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata to develop the MRRT. Independent MP Andrew Wilkie requested the government take Forrest's mining tax grievance to heart.

In August 2021, it was announced that Forrest would receive a $2.4 billion dividend on Fortescue's record profit.

Cattle industry

After buying back the family property, Minderoo Station in 2009 Forrest acquired the adjoining properties, Nanutarra and Uaroo Stations in 2014, increasing his total pastoral holdings in the Pilbara to 7,300 square kilometres (2,819 sq mi). In August 2015 he acquired both Brick House Station and Minilya Station for an estimated A$10 million, bringing his total pastoral holdings to over 10,000 square kilometres (3,861 sq mi).

Forrest acquired meat processing company Harvey Beef in May 2014 for A$40 million. The biggest exporter of beef in Western Australia, it was until August 2014 the only one accredited to export to China.

In 2020, Forrest acquired both Quanbun and neighbouring property, Jubilee Downs, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia for over A$30 million.

BioMD

In June 2011, Allied Medical, of which Forrest owned 46%, was acquired by BioMD for over A$20 million.

Hydrogen technology manufacture

In October 2021 FMG subsidiary Fortescue Future Industries and Plug Power Inc. announced a joint venture to manufacture energy infrastructure and equipment, such as proton-exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysers, cabling and wind turbines, at Aldoga, west of Gladstone, Queensland.

Also in October 2021, Fortescue Future Industries and Incitec Pivot announced a feasibility study for a new ammonium nitrate production plant in Brisbane. The plant would use PEM electrolysers to generate hydrogen to produce ammonium nitrate, mainly used as fertiliser and as a component in explosives, replacing the conventional manufacturing process which uses natural gas.

In November 2021 it was announced that Fortescue Future Industries would build a plant in Río Negro Province, Argentina, that initially in 2024 would produce 600MW a year of green hydrogen, rising to 15GW by 2030.

RM Williams

Forrest purchased footwear and clothing company RM Williams in 2020, through one of his companies, from Hong Kong based owner L Catterton. The (originally Australian) company had been partly owned by French luxury brand conglomerate LVMH since 2013. The company was purchased for $190 million.

Around 35 per cent of RM Williams' manufacturing is done offshore, and Forrest has said he will return this part of the business's manufacture to Australia.

Tattarang and Harvest Road

As of March 2022, Forrest owns the agribusiness Harvest Road, which deals in beef and seafood, with a focus on ethically and sustainably produced food. It is part of the Tattarang group, one of Australia's largest investment groups. Harvest Road owns the brands Harvey Beef, Leeuwin Coast, and Ernest Green and Sons.

Australia-Asia Power Link

In March 2022 Forrest, via his Tattarang subsidiary Squadron Energy, along with Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, together invested A$210m in the Australia-Asia Power Link project, which is backed by the Australian-Singaporean company Sun Cable. It includes the construction of a solar and battery farm 12,000 hectares (120 km2) in size at Powell Creek, Northern Territory, and a power cable to link it to Singapore (via Indonesia), leaving Australia at Murrumujuk beach, NT. Transmission is planned to start in 2026.

Marine science

In 2019 Forrest was awarded a PhD in Marine Science from the University of Western Australia, and has a strong interest in maintaining the health of the oceans.

Recognition and honours

Forrest has an Australian Centenary Medal, Australian Sports Medal, was awarded the 2017 Western Australian of the Year Award, and the 2018 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Alumni Social Impact Award.

In 2017 Forrest was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the mining sector, to the development of employment and business opportunities, as a supporter of sustainable foreign investment, and to philanthropy.

Other roles

Forrest is well-connected in political, business, and sporting circles. He is an adjunct professor at the Chinese Southern University and a fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy. He is a former director of Australia's Export Finance and Insurance Corporation and the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia, and former chairman of Athletics Australia.

He has addressed the Queensland University of Technology, and Christians in the Marketplace. He gave the 2020 Boyer Lectures to outline a case for hydrogen energy and ways to manage human impacts on the oceans.

Philanthropy

Andrew and Nicola Forrest made The Giving Pledge in 2013, stating:

"We hope to help empower individuals and families currently suffering the despair of poverty, slavery and the lack of opportunity for themselves and their children. We feel that if we all do whatever we can with whatever we have, large or small, then each of us will help make our world a more equitable and positive environment for others to thrive in."

Andrew and Nicola Forrest, February 2013

Indigenous Australians

After stepping down as chief executive officer of FMG, Forrest noted that he had been spending more than 50% of his time on Indigenous philanthropy. Forrest became an ambassador for the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation. Encouraged by the philanthropy of the Rockefeller Group, Warren Buffett, and Melinda and Bill Gates, Andrew and Nicola Forrest established the Australian Children's Trust in 2001.

Through the influence of Scotty Black, Forrest started the GenerationOne project, with assistance from James Packer and Kerry Stokes, who each donated A$2 million, along with the support of their respective media stations, Channel 9 and Channel 7. GenerationOne and the Australian Children's Trust help to create sustainable solutions on addressing social disadvantage. With Kevin Rudd, Forrest launched the Australian Employment Covenant, that campaigned for businesses to hire Indigenous Australians, as they could "add value" to Australian businesses because they were "professional and reliable and wonderful" and that there is no reason for Indigenous disparity. GenerationOne ran a series of television advertisements privately funded by Forrest, Packer and Stokes. Between 2008 and 2011, Forrest obtained 253 business signatories to his covenant. With Rudd, Forrest planned to employ 50,000 Aboriginal people. As the two-year deadline approached, estimates put the number of Indigenous job placements under the scheme at around 2,800, well short of the original goal.

Forrest is opposed to welfare dependency for Indigenous Australians. ..... Forrest has been publicly accused of engaging in questionable methods of land acquisition, and has had accusations levelled at his company for failing Indigenous trainees at FMG's vocational training centre in Port Hedland.

In 2013, Forrest was chosen to lead an Australian Government review into Indigenous employment and training programs. Delivered on 1 August 2014 with 27 recommendations, the review proposed the creation of the Cashless Welfare Card.

Other philanthropic interests

As of September 2007, Forrest had injected A$90 million into his children's charity. Philanthropic activity has included gifts to his alma mater, Hale School; participation in the St Vincent de Paul Society CEO sleepouts; and a gift from the proceeds of the sale of 5,000 tonnes (5,500 short tons) of iron ore to the Chinese earthquake relief effort. In October 2013 it was announced that Forrest was to donate A$65 million towards higher education in Western Australia. At the time the sum was believed to be the highest philanthropic donation in Australia, with most going toward funding scholarships.

The Minderoo Foundation, Forrest's private foundation, was renamed as the Minderoo Group is to be expanded to include higher education contributions. The foundation has given A$270 million through the foundation since 2001. In 2014, Andrew and Nicola Forrest pledged A$65 million over ten years through the Minderoo Foundation, establishing the Forrest Research Foundation to offer scholarships to students pursuing a PhD at a Western Australian university. In 2017 Forrest donated A$400 million to medical research and social causes, and in 2019 donated a further A$655 million to expand the existing work of the Minderoo Foundation in areas including cancer research, early childhood development, ocean health, and eliminating modern slavery, the largest ever living donation by any Australian philanthropist.

Personal life

Forrest is a Christian and is married with three children.

Forrest owns the 58.2-metre (191 ft) yacht Pangaea (named after the eponymous supercontinent). Built by US shipyard Halter Marine in 1999, the yacht is registered in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Net worth

Year Financial Review
Rich List
Forbes
Australia's 50 Richest
Rank Net worth (A$) Rank Net worth (US$)
2011 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&03.&&&&&03 Increase $6.18 billion Increase
2012 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&04.&&&&&04 Decrease $5.89 billion Decrease
2013 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&09.&&&&&09 Decrease $3.66 billion Decrease
2014 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&07.&&&&&07 Increase $5.86 billion Increase
2015 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&09.&&&&&09 Decrease $2.83 billion Decrease
2016 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&08.&&&&&08 Increase $3.33 billion Increase
2017 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&06.&&&&&06 Increase $6.84 billion Increase
2018 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&08.&&&&&08 Decrease $6.10 billion Decrease
2019 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&08.&&&&&08 Steady $7.99 billion Increase
2020 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&02.&&&&&02 Increase $23.00 billion Increase
2021 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&02.&&&&&02 Steady $27.25 billion Increase
Legend
Icon Description
Steady Has not changed from the previous year
Increase Has increased from the previous year
Decrease Has decreased from the previous year

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Andrew Forrest para niños

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