The Business On: Simon Murray, Adventurer

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The Independent Online

Sorry, adventurer?

Yes, that's right. Among his many exploits, eight years ago, Mr Murray became the oldest man to reach the South Pole unsupported – he was 63 at the time.

So what's he doing on the business pages?

There's a good chance he's going to become chairman of Glencore, the Swiss commodities giant, which is on the verge of unveiling the details of its £37bn stock market flotation. That will give him the chance to break another record, as the float is likely to be London's biggest ever.

Why does Glencore want to hire a polar explorer for this key post?

That's not Mr Murray's full-time job. He's also had a lengthy career in the higher echelons of a number of global businesses. He ran Hutchison Whampoa, has served as chairman of Sheraton and Hilton Hotels and is on the boards of luxury goods company Richemont and Essar Energy.

But does he know much about commodities?

The fund management business he launched just over a decade ago has made a string of investments in the sector, so he's pretty familiar with it.

Does he want the job?

Maybe not – he might have ruled himself out by admitting yesterday that he had been approached, given Glencore's famous obsession with confidentiality. He also added that at least two other candidates were in the running for the job.

But it's an exciting opportunity?

Not compared with his other exploits, as he told Reuters yesterday. "You are talking to someone who has been chased by a leopard," the former French Foreign Legionnaire explained. "You are talking to someone who has been shot at with a machine gun and missed."

What does his family think?

Well, they might baulk if he's endlessly away from Hong Kong, where Mr Murray and his wife Jennifer are happily settled. And she has adventures of her own to pursue. She was the first woman to fly round the world in a helicopter.