"A brutal desire to be financially independent."
"After two and a half years at Aachen University in Germany I realized that I already had a grasp on the engineering part of the world, so I wanted to make money."
"Brazil has allowed me to break the Petrobras monopoly."
"China is such a big consumer…"
"Entrepreneurs… need to take a long-term view. Projects that have quality take three to five years to be built. In my business, you can’t think in the short term because this is a topical mentality. This country’s abundance has not helped investors or entrepreneurs to think longer term. I think of Brazil fifty to one hundred years forward."
"Failures only make you grow."
"Finding oil is a multidisciplinary science. You need a lot of people – statisticians, engineers, and geologists, of course. And what I have learned in the past 30 years is that I read people better than I read books."
"I always had a great interest in engineering for the sake of making things better."
"I always look for rich mines, and I keep this culture up today."
"I began selling insurance… This taught me how to talk to people. Some doors open and some do not."
"I can tell you today 99% of my investments are in Brazil and will remain here."
"I consider myself today as a massive arbitrager of inefficiencies using state-of-the-art concepts and equipment."
"If Brazilians are proud of having the best soccer player in the world or the most beautiful model, why not also be proud of having the best leaders in business?"
"If you look at the world through the eyes of an engineer, there are a lot of opportunities."
"I have a mandate to make Brazil very efficient…"
"I have fifty executive directors in eight companies. If want to talk to a director, I walk into his office, sit in front of him, and let him tell me his story."
"I have the best of the best. This is probably my biggest strength today."
"I know how to read geology."
"I learned in all these years to read people and one of my best qualities today is to get the best out of incredibly qualified engineers and geologists."
"I learned to only work with world-class assets, rich assets that can afford mistakes – mistakes, delays."
"I learned to think."
"I like challenge."
"I like challenge. But I don’t, I don’t challenge – I have to know that I can perform, you know? I don’t do just anything."
"I’m building for my country… I’m connecting Brazil."
"I’m very competitive."
"In 1989, when I decided to race powerboats in Brazil, I became the Brazilian, the American and the world champion because of two things: understanding how to build a team and smart engineering. It’s a very dangerous sport and a five-cent piece could make you lose the race or even die."
"In mining you go to some crazy place, you set up a camp. You start looking for water and energy and this way you can build anything. That’s the mind-set. That’s my life. That’s how I started from zero."
"In my education… stress was very important."
"I see myself as an entrepreneur. Somehow I have a pact with Mother Nature. I drill and I find things. Somehow you have to have luck."
"I simply didn’t want to get money from my parents anymore. This was very powerful."
"It also brings arrogance because you can come to think that you can fly. It’s very dangerous." [On having success too early]
"It’s incomprehensible that America doesn’t have high-speed rail between major cities."
"It taught me that it’s important to shut down your company when it’s not going well and close it down properly… It was a humbling exercise." [On having to close down his jeep factory]
"I tell young people, especially middle and upper-class youngsters, that parents should not make it too easy for them. We pamper them too much."
"I think there’s a massive shifting in wealth. You know, between America and Europe to the emerging markets, either through currency appreciation, because Brazil’s self-sufficient in everything."
"It was a different seed planted in me."
"I want to be the world’s biggest philanthropist."
"I was educated to think maybe Brazil works, maybe it doesn’t. But I decided I am going to make this country work for my children. I am investing all my effort now in making Brazil a great country."
"I would advise young people to leave their comfort zone. Go somewhere and don’t say to yourself, ‘If I live in Rio de Janeiro and so that is where I need a job or start a business.’ This country is big. The fact that I went out to the Amazon gave me a new dimension, a new way to look at opportunity."
"Logistics means if you build a mine in the middle of nowhere, you have to secure your water, you have to build your town, you have to have your power generation. You think like a military operation."
"Mining has a lot to do with logistics."
"My advice to young people is start small and think long term."
"My mother taught me discipline – she was German, from Hamburg – and so she taught me discipline and care, caring for others, which is very much what I got from her, which forged me in many ways."
"Over time you learn that knowledge is important."
"Somehow I have a pact with nature. Everywhere I drill I find oil, coal or gold."
"Stress or pressure is important. Stress can destroy some people, but in certain dosages I think it’s extremely welcome. It tests you, and it prepares you for meeting bigger challenges."
"The essence of making society as a whole think in terms of community and sharing."
"The European car fleet has twice the energy efficiency than America."
"They’re going to have to go through stress also. It’s vital for them. A year ago, my oldest son, I sent them to work in a garage. And at night he came home and said ‘Daddy, it’s very hot under a car.’ Right, well, you have to go through this. Otherwise you won’t occupy the position of your father. I tell them to concentrate."
"To be powerful in South America, you have to be transparent and you have to have a very clean reputation. Transparency for me today is a magic word in South America. Power comes from transparency and a track record of execution."
"Transparency is part of how you are educated."
"Wealth creation is all about in natural resources, is identifying seeing these things and putting the right people together to make it happen, product it."
"We take care of social and environmental issues right from the beginning, not after when you start making profit."
"What I have learned in the 30 years is to – I read people better than I read books."
"What I learned from my father is to think big."
"What I realized was that a lot of gold was being produced and so my idea was to become a trader, to buy and sell the gold. I didn’t want to initially participate in the gold production because local owners who had the planes and controlled the landing strips to move the gold out controlled it. The mules of the jungle were Cessna 186 planes."
"What my father taught me, what I learned from him, is to think big, because he built – there’s a movie in Brazil called Brazil’s Engineer, and it’s about him, because he built part of Brazil’s macro-infrastructure – railways, super ports for shipment of iron ore to Asia, back then to Japan. And so I learned to think."
"You cannot exist as a $20 billion company with speculation."
"You can’t have a success if your dealership network isn’t big enough to provide good service." [On car distribution]
"You don’t build a nice restaurant if you think you’re going to have a return in three years."
"You have to start thinking out of the box."
"You need to have this drive toward financial independence. This was a driver for me, a big one. I simply don’t want to get money from my parents anymore. This was very powerful."