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 Vladimir Potanin

Born:   3 January 1961

Russian businessman


Russian tycoon Vladimir Potanin, the head of Interros Company, was born 3 January 1961 in Moscow, to a family of a diplomat. At the age of 22 Potanin graduated from MGIMO (the Moscow State Institute of International Relations), known as a prestigious institute making specialists for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After graduation Vladimir worked for the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, until the state monopoly on foreign commerce was abolished in 1990. Taking advantage of the new regulations Vladimir Potanin founded Interros, a foreign trade association.

In 1993 Potanin became the president of UNEXIM Bank and the chairman of MFK board of directors. Mikhail Prokhorov became his business partner. In 1994 foreign trade association Interros turned into a financial industrial group headed by Vladimir Potanin.

Vladimir Potanin was the first to introduce the idea of the loans-for-shares auctions, which put state assets in private hands. In the course of auctions UNEXIM Bank and MFK acquired state-owned stakes of Sidanko oil company, Norilsk Nickel, Novolipetsk metallurgical industrial complex and several other enterprises. In April 1996, by a governmental decree, Potanin was appointed a member of Norilsk Nickel board of directors.

In 1997 Vladimir Potanin’s companies purchased the controlling stake of the Izvestia newspaper, which served as a basis for Prof-Media holding created in autumn of the same year. The holding comprised the most popular the Komsomolskaya Pravda, the most popular Russian tabloid, the Russian Telegraf newspaper and the Izvestia. Later, in 1998, the Expert magazine joined them. In 1999 the Charity Fund of Vladimir Potanin was established to support young students and teachers. The Fund gives grants to students studying in MGIMO, Norilsk University and other institutes of higher education in Russia. Besides, it finances Russian Orthodox University and the commission grooming managerial staff for the national economy of Russia.

6 February of 2001, Power Machines Group, controlled by Iterros, was created. Power Machines Group is Russia’s largest integrated producer of power generation equipment.

In 2007, Potanin announced a split with his former long-standing partner Mikhail Prokhorov.

In 2012, after a bitter struggle with Rusal's Oleg Deripaska over the management of Norilsk Nickel, Potanin signs a truce with Deripaska, mediated by Roman Abramovich, and becomes CEO of the world's largest nickel producer.

In 2020, he became the richest Russian businessman ($ 19 700 million).

Hobbies and Private Life

Vladimir Potanin is fond of mountain skiing, chess and European football. A young man he was a football, judo, arm-wrestling, karate and ping-pong champion. He prefers to spend holidays abroad with his family, particularly in ski resorts of Switzerland and Austria.

At the end of 2013, he divorced his first wife Natalia. In 2015, the Presnensky Court of Moscow refused to divide a block of shares in Norilsk Nickel between the ex-spouses. In November 2019, Potanina's claim for £ 5 billion was also rejected by the High Court of London.

Potanin is known for his charitable activity, e.g. he bought Black Square by Malevich for one million dollars and passed the masterpiece to the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Vladimir Potanin's charitable foundation has promised to allocate a billion rubles to NGOs and museums.

Potanin's house in Moscow was one of the capital's first experimental blocks of executive flats and included a restaurant, sauna, gym, billiards room, cafeteria, swimming pool, hair salon, winter garden, and guarded ski run next to the house. Potanin also has an out-of-town residence.

Potanin speaks English and French fluently. He is married and has two sons and a daughter.




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