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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MT Profiles: Vladimir Potanin, Businessman

Itar-Tass
After attending MGIMO, an elite university in Moscow that grooms students for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Potanin followed his father's footsteps and began working at the Soviet Department of Trade. In 1991 he established Interros, a holding company and foreign trade association, with business partner Mikhail Prokhorov. With the capital he accrued from Interros, Potanin started Oneximbank and the MFK, into which several state enterprises transferred their accounts. Potanin was one of the principle leaders of the controversial loans-for-shares program, acquiring control of more than 20 formerly state-owned enterprises during Russia's economic transition in the early 1990s, including Norilsk Nickel. In 1993, he became the President of United Export Import Bank, and from Aug. 14, 1996 through March 17, 1997 he worked as First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.

Since 1998, Potanin has held the positions of both President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Interros. Following Prokhorov's arrest in 2007, the business partners announced a divorce within Interros in which Potanin would buy out Prokhorov's stake in Norilsk Nickel and Prokhorov would acquire his partner's shares in Polyus Gold. Now, Potanin's Interros holds a majority stake in Norilsk Nickel and a minority stake in Polyus Gold, the majority of which is now owned by aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska.

In the 2008 financial crisis, Potanin's net worth dropped considerably, stripping him of his status of one of Russia's top 10 richest people as his net worth fell from almost $20 billion to $2.1 billion. (March 18, 2009)


Net Worth: $2.1 billion (Forbes 2009), making him the 19th richest Russian and 318th richest person in the world

Assets: investment fund Interros, whose holdings include:

     - Norilsk Nickel, the largest mining company in Russia
     - Polyus Gold (15 percent; Bloomberg, March 2009)
     - Rosbank
     - ProfMedia
     - Otkritiye Investitsii, a real estate company


External Resources

    Interros site

    Norilsk Nickel site nornik.ru