Dauphin founded Trafigura with five fellow partners in 1993, after a 16-year career at Marc Rich AG, during which he rose to become head of its petroleum division.
Dauphin left Marc Rich AG around the time of the management buyout that led to the creation of Glencore, and began building a business that would come to be Glencore’s largest rival in many of its main markets.
He and the management team initially focused on niche business opportunities, principally in Latin America, where the privatisation of industry in the 1990s created strong demand for logistical and marketing expertise, Trafigura said after his death on Wednesday.
In the early 2000s, Trafigura capitalised on a period of unprecedented commodity price volatility by strengthening its focus on risk management and exploiting supply imbalances, as well as selectively investing in fixed assets that would serve its trading and logistics business, Trafigura said.
Over the following decade, Trafigura grew to become one of the largest independent traders of oil, metals and minerals, with annual revenues hitting $127.6 billion in 2014, the year in which Dauphin was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
He maintained an executive chairman’s role while receiving treatment, and continued to play an active role in the company throughout his illness.
Following his death at a hospital in Bogota early on Wednesday morning, Jeremy Weir, who was appointed as his successor in the ceo role in March 2014, said Dauphin will be greatly missed by his family, colleagues and business partners.
“We owe him an enormous debt of gratitude for a career full of achievement and entrepreneurial endeavour and for his energy, inspirational leadership, generosity of spirit, humility and humour,” he said.
Dauphin is survived by his wife and three children.