The amazing life and career of Beny Steinmetz
Beny Steinmetz was born in 1956 in Netanya, Israel and is the fourth child of Rubin Steinmetz, a pioneer of the diamond trade. At the age of 21, after serving three years in the military, Steinmetz emigrated from Israel to Belgium, to the famous diamond hub, Antwerp. There he began paving his long and successful career as a businessman and entrepreneur.
Building on the family legacy and working alongside his father, through his avid business acumen, he contributed to transforming the family business into one of the most successful diamond trading companies in the world. As he himself admits, he learned the job one step at a time, one mistake at a time. In 1977, he decided to get away from Antwerp and diamonds and left Belgium to settle in Israel.
Soon he begun exploring opportunities that arose in Africa. In 1988 he bought his first and largest diamond factory in South Africa. In the coming years he expanded his activities to other African countries, such as Angola and Botswana. His restless entrepreneurial spirit however, pushed him to discover other business worlds as well. Delving into ventures such as mining, real estate and capital markets, slowly but steadily, Beny Steinmetz’s skills and vision shaped BSG Resources (BSGR), a business group operating in more than 25 countries.
Throughout the first decade of this century BSGR of which Steinmetz is currently an advisor, directly and through various joint ventures invested in and operated, purchased and sold numerous large-scale mining and metal sector operations not once involving leading players of the global mining industry. These strategic investments were driven by Beny Steinmetz’s instinct to cultivate mutually beneficial business cooperations and generated significant added value for the Group.
A common feature of all his activities is the profound positive impact he has always left on both the societies and the economies in which the Group operates. At a time when sustainability was still an unknown concept, Steinmetz used it as a “compass” for his way of doing business, a choice that gave him international recognition.
In parallel to the mining activities, Beny Steinmetz’s investment in global markets expanded significantly and included partnerships with a number of leading investors and global industry players. Two such examples are the acquisition of Canary Wharf together with the Safra Brothers and the acquisition of the majority stake in the German department store chain Karstadt, including the profitable KaDeWe department store in Berlin, in a joint venture with Signa Holdings.
As Steinmetz was climbing the global business ladder through his strategic investments, his fortune and reputation increased significantly. So did the attacks he had to face by orchestrated smear campaigns against him. However, truth always finds its way and gradually all false claims against him fall apart in court one by one.
A case at hand is the infamous legal battle between Beny Steinmetz and Brazilian metal mining giant, Vale, which collapsed in February 2022. Vale withdrew all claims against him during the London High Court trial. It also discharged its worldwide freezing order against Steinmetz, a move that goes beyond a mere vindication and points to the baseless conspiracy claims against him. In addition, in March 2022, Greek justice quashed the extradition request of Romania against Beny Steinmetz, showcasing that the principles of the rule of law and human rights have prevailed over politically motivated and dubious practices, unfortunately practiced in Romania.
Steinmetz proves to be a hard act to follow for those who thrive on orchestrating conspiracies him. Steadily focused on transparent business ethics, although he describes himself as an “international Israeli”, he never seizes to express his love for his homeland. In one of the few interviews he has given, he notes that making money is not his purpose. The most important thing in life for him is family.
He and his beloved wife Agnes met when they were teenagers and have been inseparable since then. They have four kids but their love for children goes way beyond their family. Together they founded the Agnes and Beny Steinmetz Foundation in 2006, which is one of the largest and most active charities in Israel. The Foundation operates in areas such as Education, Culture, and Health, having helped thousands of disadvantaged children and young people at risk.
Both Beny and Agnes Steinmetz hold honorary doctorate degrees from the Netanya Academic College as well as from the Tel-Aviv Museum of Art in recognition off their support for cultural initiatives. The donation for the creation of new wing in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art -Israel’s first art museum- stands testament for Agnes and Beny Steinmetz’s dedication in being critical agents for the promotion of arts and culture in Israel as well the international art scene.