Sébastien Le Page
Born on 1st September 1971, in Paris, France
I was raised in Paris until 1977 when my father (a stainless steel producer) was posted to the US. I then went to school in New Jersey and learned English. In 1980, we returned to Paris, and I went to a local American school, before returning to the French system. I earned my baccalauréat degree in 1989, specializing in Mathematics, then joined a business school preparatory program to be admitted to the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce d’Amiens Picardie, where I graduated from in 1995, with a major in Auditing and Financial Markets. During that time, I started playing rugby and learned how to play the drums. I was in 6 bands simultaneously during those years, playing everything from piano bar music, jazz, rock, folk and even punk. During the same years, I also studied philosophy (for only one year) at La Sorbonne with an emphasis on Nietzsche and Descartes.
In 1996, as part of my civil service (which was mandatory at the time), I started working for Brandeis Brokers (Ltd) based in London. I was working in metals trading on the floor of the London Metals Exchange first as a clerk, then as a client liaison. In 1998, my contract with the military was over, so I started looking for a job, and was hired by Glencore UK Ltd. as a traffic operative for copper metal. Whilst in London, I continued playing rugby, and was fortunate enough to play for Blackheath, Askeans and then for Rosslyn Park which was my favourite. I also married Alexia, whom I had met a few years earlier in Paris during a literary weekend excursion.
In 2001, internal changes in the Glencore group compelled me to move to Baar, in the canton of Zug, Switzerland. I then became a trader, and in January 2002, my son Armand was born.
I started travelling very often because I have always preferred face-to-face encounters with customers rather than email exchanges. I was in charge of many different regions in the world, from Korea to Chile, and I had to spend many hours flying. I have always loved making a connection with customers, and have developed very long-lasting friendships with them all around the world.
In 2005 my wife, Alexia, died from cancer at age 33. I was devastated, but I kept going because of my work, and thanks to the support I received from my bosses, Telis, Daniel, and the CEO of Glencore, Ivan. I owe them for not having gone completely mad at the time.
Glencore then took up most of my time, especially for travelling. I loved meeting people from all around the world, learning about and understanding their different cultures. The years went on, until I met a Belgian woman, Morgan, who became my wife in 2011.
This was also the year when Morgan, Armand and I started to play polo. I had been riding all my life, but had never tried polo. We all three fell in love with it, so over those years, I bought 38 polo horses, became the owner of Polo Park and Country Club Zurich, built stables and a huge clubhouse, and had the chance and the honour to play in Zurich, Geneva, St. Tropez, Stuttgart, Donaueschingen, Deauville, Rovinj and Lobos, only to name a few. I went up against Erbprinz Christian zu Fürstenberg, played with HRH the Maharajah of Jaipur, and his lovely father, winning the Medium-Goal Swiss Polo Championship, the Deauville Bronze Cup, and many other tournaments, and have come to realise that this was the lifestyle I wanted to have for the next 30+ years for me and my family.
Polo having become the most important thing in my life (after my family), I left Glencore in March 2015 to focus on polo and my other interests.
I am very interested in gastronomy. I am the owner of the amazing restaurants Hato in Zurich and St Moritz. It was not my first foray in this as I own two bars in La Plagne, a very large ski resort in the French Alps, called Le Luna Bar and l’Igloo Igloo. With partners, I have also built a whisky distillery on the Isle of Harris, which make single malt scotch whisky and wonderful gin in one of the most unbelievably beautiful islands in Europe. I also import wines to Switzerland, mostly from Bourgogne through connections I have there from being a Chevalier du Tastevin. I also own an indoor Golf and Events business in Rapperswil, which also has it’s own catering solutions.
I’m not all about food and drinks though. I also became a shareholder of Blue Orchard, a micro-finance credit fund based in Geneva, one of the world’s oldest, managing 2.5 billion francs of funds, all for what I believe is charity: a return for an investor coupled with a real need and a pride from the borrower to start a business and start a new life, which will then spread to their families. I believe in Confucius’ message: If you see a starving man, don’t give him a fish, but teach him how to fish.
For my other hobbies, I love history, and I think that one of the most interesting ways to learn -and teach- history is to live it. I do historical reenactments of the Napoleonic wars with many friends from all over the world. We show how the battles took place, but also how people used to live at the time, and what was important for them. It’s amazing how things have changed since then, and I learn something every time we do this.
I’m also a very big fan of Sherlock Holmes, and I’m a member of the Société Sherlock Holmes de France, the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, and I’m one of the famed Baker Street Irregulars under the name „The Six Napoleons“.