Cyril Ramaphosa, the newly elected deputy president of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC), is a businessman with a golden touch who quit politics for a decade after a thwarted presidential bid.
After failing to clinch the ANC nomination to succeed former president Nelson Mandela, Ramaphosa traded the political world for a lucrative foray into business that made him one of the wealthiest people in South Africa.
The anti-apartheid heavyweight made his millions through deals under the country's black economic empowerment laws, which require investors to partner with non-white shareholders.
Gone from politics for a decade, Ramaphosa has quietly slipped back in and on Tuesday was elected to the ANC's number-two post.
He took over from Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who lost in his bid to oust President Jacob Zuma from the ANC's top job.
This means Ramaphosa could replace Motlanthe as South Africa's deputy president or even run for president of the country in 2014 if Zuma limits himself to one term.
Born on 17 November 1952 in Soweto township west of Johannesburg — a centre of the struggle against apartheid — Ramaphosa cut his teeth on student activism while studying law in the 1970s.
He then turned to trade unionism — the only legal way of protesting the white-minority-regime — and founded the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in 1982.
The union recruited 300 000 members and in 1987 led massive mine strikes that shook the foundations of power.
When Mandela was released in 1990 after 27 years in prison for opposing apartheid, Ramaphosa was part of the committee tasked with facilitating the transition to democracy.
In 1991 he resigned from the NUM to become the secretary general of the newly unbanned ANC. Elected a member of parliament in 1994 in the first all-race elections, he was appointed president of the group that drew up the country's progressive constitution.
He was Mandela's clear favourite as successor at the end of his single term in 1999, but the party leadership preferred then-deputy president Thabo Mbeki.
Ramaphosa, a self-confessed socialist, resigned from his political positions in 1997 and ventured into business, setting up Shanduka Holdings and becoming one of the country's richest men.
He made his fortune as a board member of the local Standard Bank and South African Breweries, president of telecom giant MTN and owner of the South African franchises of US fast-food outlet McDonald's.
His extensive resume oddly includes the honorary consulship of Iceland in Johannesburg.
In 2007, the businessman discreetly returned to politics with election to the ANC's supreme decision-making body, the National Executive Committee (NEC).
He was also appointed head of an ANC disciplinary committee that decided to expel the party's firebrand youth-wing leader Julius Malema, an outspoken advocate of nationalising the country's mines.
But back in the public sphere, Ramaphosa took flak in the months leading up to the ANC congress.
He called on authorities to crush violent strikes at the Marikana platinum mine, operated by London-listed Lonmin, where he is non-executive director. Shortly after, police shot dead 34 miners on 16 August in the worst crackdown since the apartheid era.
But his popularity in the party endures thanks to his negotiation skills and supposed ability to bridge revolutionary ideals and good business.