The billionaire mining magnate known as Twiggy may be emulating Bill Gates with the scale of his philanthropy, but not everyone is convinced
Andrew Forrest says he isn’t after power. He didn’t aim to become wealthy. The 27.2 billion dollar man just “wants to leave the world a better place”.
The American novelist John Barth wrote that “everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story”. Forrest is certainly that. But his story – including, but not limited to, the staggering success of his iron ore business and the even more staggering ambition of his clean energy plans – is writ large enough for others to read. And they don’t all see him as a white knight.
Forrest is a very busy and very complicated man. People describe him as paradoxical but passionate, driven and difficult, ambitious and controlling. Those who have met him talk about his unswerving confidence, his charm. Some mention his generosity, such as the Giving Pledge he signed with his wife, Nicola. One person close to him says he’s emulating thefounder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, with the scale of his philanthropy.
The most critical decline to speak publicly. Forrest is the founder and now non-executive chair of Fortescue Metals Group, the WA mining ore business that made a profit of almost $14bn last financial year; the founder and chair of its subsidiary Fortescue Future Industries, which plans to deliver 15m tonnes of green hydrogen to the world by 2030; and chair of the Minderoo Foundation, his charitable arm.