UPDATE 2-Trafigura founder, commodity trade giant Claude Dauphin dies
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By Dmitry Zhdannikov
LONDON, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Claude Dauphin, the powerful and influential oil and metals trader who built Trafigura into one of the world's biggest commodity players, died on Wednesday after a battle with cancer. He was 64.
The famously hardworking and secretive Frenchman, who shunned publicity throughout his four-decade career, died in Bogota, Colombia, where he was inspecting Trafigura's new facilities. He is survived by his wife and three children, the Swiss-based company said in a statement.
A former senior executive with famed trader and ex-U.S. fugitive Marc Rich, Dauphin was a towering figure in the commodity business, renowned for an exhaustive travel schedule, deep industry knowledge and a demanding work ethic - as well as an intense chain-smoking habit. He was also France's 32nd richest person with a net worth of $1.4 billion, according to Forbes.
He stepped down as chief executive of Trafigura for medical treatment last year, after overseeing the firm's 20-year expansion from a niche Latin America metals dealer to one of the three largest commodity traders, moving 3 percent of the world's oil with turnover of more than $120 billion in recent years - a more than 10-fold increase from a decade earlier.
Jeremy Weir, a mild-mannered Australian geologist with a banking background, has been running the company as CEO since then, although Dauphin remained executive chairman and continued to travel.
"He fought very hard. He never stopped," one of Trafigura's employees said. The company said his "capacity for hard work and energy were undiminished by his illness."
The trip to Colombia returned Dauphin to the region that launched his career. In 1977, after working several years in France for his father's scrap metals firm and as a metals broker, he moved to Bolivia to work for Rich, the father of modern oil trading. Within about a decade he had moved up to become the firm's chief oil trader. Continuación...