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From Beverley Grammar to Britain’s richest man

A former Beverley Grammar School pupil has been named as Britain’s richest man, with a personal fortune of more then £21 billion. Sixty-five-year-old Jim Ratcliffe, who studied at the school in the late 1960s, is chief executive of petrochemicals group Ineos, which was only founded 20 years ago but now has 51 production facilities in 11 countries, include five in the UK.

Jim Ratcliffe

The Manchester United-supporting publicity-shy mogul grew up in a council house in Failsworth, a small town between Manchester and Oldham, but later moved to Hull with his parents and began attending Beverley Grammar. Although claiming football was his only interest while at school an indication of things to come is perhaps the fact that he is credited with forming the school’s industrial society while in the sixth form in 1970, organising tours of paint factories, chemical plants and other manufacturing facilities.

According to the latest edition of The Sunday Times rich list, Mr Ratcliffe’s personal fortune is put at £21.05 billion. His success has been built on the acquisition of struggling or under-valued companies and turning them around. His company’s products are, among many other things, used to clean water, make toothpaste, manufacture antibiotics, insulate homes and package food.

Ineos has headquarters in Switzerland and a UK base in Knightsbridge. Mr Ratcliffe has homes in Chelsea and Hampshire, has owned two super yachts, and enjoys extreme activities, including treks to the North and South Poles and a three-month-long motorbike trek across Africa.