Later next month, Glencore will go public in an IPO that is expected to raise as much as $11-12 billion, giving the commodities firm a potential market value of between $55-73 billion. It's multiple exclamation point exciting, not unlike Fortress's hernia-inducing IPO of 2007. As part of the buildup to the big event, there's been a demand for insight into how Glencore, founded in 1974 by Marc Rich and currently run by Ivan Glasenberg, got to where it is today and what it looks like on the inside. One theory currently being floated is that it's a cult.
Here's how some current and former employees, plus people who've never worked at Glencore have come to that conclusion:
* People have to work hard; they're rewarded for performance"It's very hard work, very intense. You've got management teams which establish a culture of high performance among the key personnel, and high incentives," said Henri Alexaline, senior credit analyst at BNP Paribas in London.
* Long-ish hours are involved, partying all the time (during the week) is notA person who has experience working with Glencore said: "I generally worked 10-12 hours a day. The assumption is glam parties in the evenings ... but the reality of the daily stresses means I rarely went out in the week."
* You might get a work-related email while not at workThe person said that staff carried laptops and Blackberries while on holiday, logging on to answer 400-500 emails and being on call 24/7.
* The job often involves business trips"It involves a lot more traveling, and their private life takes a back seat."
* The CEO is charming and also wants employees to make the firm money"He's a very charismatic guy. I don't think I can recall anybody that hasn't been very taken with him when they meet him. He's very driven, but very approachable and down-to-earth," the second outsider said. While Glasenberg can have a fiery temper when things go wrong, he also inspires strong loyalty from his traders, who are hired young and expected to make a career at the company.
While the above don't strike us so much as red flags of a cult as what you could expect working at any major financial institution serious about making money, there is this, which gives gives hope that with a little more effort, Glencore *could* ascend to cult status if it really put its mind to it.
"If you make a mistake and you've lost them money, then the whole company will ridicule you because they send these multi-chain emails around," the first source said. "They learn to be really, really careful, because the whole company will laugh at you and you'll lose your bonus."
Clearly someone on the inside knows of the power of getting past one's ego in pursuit of the truth.
Only Toughest Thrive In Glencore's Trading Culture [Reuters via BI]