Felix Posen

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Felix Posen is a German born British based philanthropist and former commodities trader. Born in Berlin, Posen fled to the US with his family in 1938 and, after graduating from Johns Hopkins University, he went into business as a hides and oils trader.[1]

Following service in the Korean War, Posen continued to trade in metals, emigrated to London and became a founding partner of a company trading in oil metals, minerals and coal where he remained until his retirement.[1]

Posen retired in 1992 as a partner of what was then the largest international trading firm dealing in oil, metal and minerals, and coal. [2] He is the founder and president of the Posen Foundation, a Lucerne, Switzerland based organisation with offices in the US and Israel, which says its mission is to work 'internationally to advance Jewish education and promote Jewish culture in the public sphere.'[3]

Posen has been the 'main support of the well-known Center for the Study of Antisemitism at Hebrew University which also houses the Felix Posen Bibliographic Project on Antisemitism. In 1992 he established two colleges in Israel: Alma Hebrew College in Tel Aviv and Meitar, the College of Pluralistic Judaism in Jerusalem. In 2001 he initiated educational programs on secular Judaism at seven Israeli institutions of higher learning. Mr. Posen is vice chairman of the International Federation of Secular Humanistic Jews, an association linking national organizations in Europe, North and South America, Israel, Australia, and countries of the former Soviet Union. He is governor emeritus and an honorary fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and was awarded both an honorary fellowship and doctorate by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.[2]

According to a Fortune Magazine report in 1988:

The man behind Rich's rise in base metals is the head of his London office, Felix Posen. World-weary and laconic, Posen lives outside the city in an exquisite 15th-century mansion surrounded by a moat. Nicknamed Sir Felix because of his imperious bearing, the German-born Posen is extraordinarily tenacious. He thinks nothing of calling associates at 3 a.m. to check on a deal. He'd drag you out of church, says one trader who knows Posen well. Posen was also the architect of Rich's immensely profitable but suddenly very controversial business with the Soviet Union. Through its metals-trading company, Razno, the Soviet Union imports massive supplies of lead and zinc concentrates. Until the late 1970s, Razno's leading supplier had been Phibro. Then the determined Posen went after the Soviet business, persistently & courting the head of Razno's London office, Ivan Russov. An enthusiastic golfer who carried an American Express card, Russov enjoyed the capitalist good life. Posen's traders treated Russov to lunches at the Gaslight Club that sometimes stretched till midnight. By the early 1980s, Rich had supplanted Phibro, capturing most of the Soviet Union's lead and zinc trade. That helped produce as much as $85 million a year of gross profit for Rich's London office. When a U.S. grand jury indicted Rich in 1983, Izvestiya ran a front-page story denouncing the U.S. government for persecuting one of America's most distinguished businessmen. Today the relationship is far less cozy. The chill set in because of a recent audit of Razno, supervised by the KGB, that focused on the lead and zinc deals with Rich. Traders from other firms who helped the Soviet auditors say the investigation revealed that the Soviets paid Rich far more for lead and zinc concentrates than Rich's customers in Western Europe. Last year the Soviets reportedly forced Rich to pay $20 million to compensate for the alleged overcharging. Russov and other Razno officials disappeared from their jobs. The Soviets still buy metals from Rich, but he no longer dominates their business.[4]


Posen attended the



  1. 1.0 1.1 Tel Aviv University Honorary Doctor of Philosophy 2006, accessed 2 September 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Johns Hopkins University FELIX POSEN PROFESSORSHIP IN MODERN JEWISH HISTORY, accessed 2 September 2013
  3. Posen Foundation Mission, accessed 22 August 2013
  4. Shawn Tully REPORTER ASSOCIATES Charles C. Krusekopf and Aimery Dunlap Smith WHY MARC RICH IS RICHER THAN EVER The U.S. is offering a six-figure bounty for his capture, but that's just pocket money to the fugitive commodities trader who is nearing billionaire status in Europe. Fortune Magazine August 1, 1988
  5. About Us, JNF UK, accessed 8 August 2012.