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The billionaire owner of INEOS, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, 70, gave a rare interview to the Times this weekend. Pictured outside his Belgravia pub, The Grenadier, with his new car, an Ineos Grenadier 4×4 in Eldoret Blue – named for the bright skies over Kenya – he opened up about a life so interesting and so ambitious you could hardly write it. 

From his residence in Monaco to racing Ironman triathlons, these are the most interesting take aways from the interview with the man who topped the Sunday Times Rich List in 2018 with a fortune of £21 billion.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe topped the Sunday Times Rich List in 2018, with £21 billion


He owns the Grenadier, Belgravia’s Power pub

It is said to be haunted by the ghost of a subaltern who was beaten to death for cheating at cards, but the Grenadier is considered ‘royalty’ among London pubs. Nestled in the heart of Belgravia, it has long been Ratcliffe’s favourite. He liked it so much, in fact, that he bought it. 

With its grenadier-themed decor and unique pewter bar, the pub is a social hotspot; it was the Duke of Wellington’s haunt in years gone by – as well as that of King George IV – and it continues to attract an elite clientele including as Madonna and the Prince of Wales. 

The social set’s favourite London pubs worth a visit post-lockdown

Monaco is his new haunt

A view over the Monte-Carlo harbour ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix, May 2018 

Dan Istitene/Getty Images

In 2020, two years after receiving a knighthood, Ratcliffe changed his residency from Britain to Monaco. ‘I didn’t move down there until I was well into retirement age,’ he told Rufford, explaining the reason for his move was that he ‘might live a bit longer in a warmer climate’. 

Alongside his home in Monaco, he also owns a house on Lake Geneva in Switzerland and another in Hampshire – he lived in the New Forest for 20 years. ‘I still have a place there and lots of friends because that’s where the kids went to school,’ he said. 

When he’s not on land he’s at sea: Ratcliffe has named his two super-yachts Hampshire I and Hampshire II. His next overseas project is reportedly to develop a seven-acre plot on the Solent coast to include a ‘beachfront house, luxury summer house, lake and four-car garage.’

He’s been a Manchester United fan since day one 

 Jadon Sancho of Manchester United celebrates with teammates after scoring their side’s first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford in August, 2022 

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Ratcliffe spent his schooldays kicking a ball around: ‘I just played football — that’s all I was interested in,’ he tells Rufford. And his first true love? Manchester United. 

Now, it’s come full circle. Ratcliffe is angling to buy the club in one of the most expensive and talked-about deals in the history of football. Reports suggest the sale could fetch £5 billion, but he’ll likely be challenged by offers from individuals from Qatar and Saudi Arabia. ‘If you’re going to do something, you either go all out or you don’t do it at all,’ he told Rufford.

His clothing brand, Belstaff, reflects his love of adventure

Models walk the runway during Belstaff fashion show as part of Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2009

Daniele Venturelli

Ratcliffe is a ‘compulsive traveller’ – and an adventurous one at that. He has travelled to both the north and south poles on skis; through the Northwest Passage – an icy stretch of water – in his explorer vessel, Sherpa; and run across the Namibian desert. Together, at 64, with his two sons, Sam and George, who are now in their mid-thirties, he completed an Ironman triathlon. 

Their team adventures go back to George and Sam’s teens, when they climbed the Matterhorn with together, and it almost went horribly wrong. ‘George was only 13 when we climbed the Matterhorn. Sam was 15,’ he told Rufford. ‘It was a nice moment, sitting at the top, having a sandwich. Then on the way down George slipped. The guide had to arrest him on the rope really quickly, but he survived.’ Believe it or not, he does have limits: ‘I won’t and would never jump out of an aeroplane, because you either live or die depending upon how well someone’s packed your parachute,’ he says.

In 2017, he sealed the deal with his love of adventure by buying his favourite brand, Belstaff. 

His Land Rover, the Ineos Grenadier Fieldmaster, is his latest project

Jim Ratcliffe has climbed the Matterhorn, visited the north and south pole and run across the Namibian desert

REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

When Land Rover announced in 2016 it was discontinuing its classic Defender, Ratcliffe was heartbroken. ‘Every child in England was brought up recognising the old Land Rover,’ he said. Never a defeatist, Ratcliffe took it upon himself to build a successor: he sketched out the car in the Grenadier pub with a couple of friends and created the next generation of a classic car.

A combination, he describes, of British knowhow and German engineering, the car has a natural colour palette: one model comes in Eldoret Blue – named after the sky in Kenya – the other in Sela Green, named after a river in Iceland where Ratcliffe goes salmon fishing. So far, he’s spent £1.34 billion on the project, which he sees as a ‘manageable risk… it’s not going to break the bank.’ 

When you turn the key in the Grenadier, its screen simply reads: ‘Keep your eyes on the road and your hand upon the wheel,’ a lyric by the Doors.