12 Things You Should Know About Arms Maker Ivor Ichikowitz

Written by Dana Sanchez
Ivor Ichikowitz
Ivor Ichikowitz attends a screening of “Plot for Peace.” Photo: Karwai Tang/Getty Images

He was a student of theater and literature before he got into the defense industry

Before he decided what he wanted to do when he grew up, Ichikowitz studied drama at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. While he was a student he became involved with protest theater, then traveled throughout Africa and studying African literature.

He founded Paramount group in 1994, the year South Africa became a democracy and elected Nelson Mandela its first black president. His company was initially just an exporter of surplus South African equipment at a time when the post-apartheid government was drastically cutting back its military budget.

The company grew into the largest privately owned defense and aerospace producer in Africa, with about 2,500 employees worldwide and sales growth of about 25 percent annually. The company’s revenue is approaching $1 billion this year, although that information has not been made public, Globe&Mail reported.

Sources: Globe&MailWikipedia