Leonid Mikhelson (Леонид Михельсон) was dubbed Russia’s second richest man by Bloomberg in August of 2012 . In his rise to the top of his nation’s chemical and natural resource industries, he has worked hard to build an impressive collection of successful businesses that have helped to secure his position as a leader both in his native Russia and abroad. In 2014 he ranks as the 5th richest Russian, with a net worth of $11.7 billion, and is considered to be the 99th wealthiest billionaire in the world according to Forbes (having slided down from 47th place in 2013, when he was valued at over $15.4 billion).
Mikhelson is perhaps best known for being one of the most significant stockholders in Russia’s largest private natural gas-producing firm Novatek. In addition to his holdings in the natural resource giant, he also has a controlling stake in Sibur, which deals in industrial chemicals. He is a close associate of Russian businessman Gennady Timchenko, who is his partner in the ventures noted here above.
Entrance into the World of Business and Industry
Leonid Mikhelson first ventured into a leadership role in the field of engineering and business when he took a foreman position at a construction firm in the region of Tyumen, located east of the Ural Mountains. During his time with the company, he helped to oversee work on the first segment of the Urengoi-Chelyabinsk natural gas pipeline. He later worked as a Chief Engineer and General Director for major Russian construction companies until 2002, when he became a board member of OAO Novatek and its Chairman.
Notable Positions Held
After joining Novatek, Mikhelson played a pivotal role in turning the company into a major player on both the Russian and global market. In contrast to giant Gazprom which is half owned by the Russian government, Novatek is wholly private in its ownership. During Mikhelson’s tenure at its helm, he led the company that had its start in the construction and engineering sectors into the natural resources industry. After acquiring a series of licences for gas exploration and extraction for Novatek, Mikhelson spurred on his firm’s entrance into this highly lucrative market. He also succeeded in purchasing Sibur from Gazprom in 2010 for a reported $1.3 billion. Mikhelson has helped to bolster his diverse portfolio with his holdings in Pervy Obyedinenny, a smaller scale bank based in Russia.
Born in Kaspiysk, Russia in 1955, Leonid Mikhelson is married with one child and resides in Moscow. He holds a first degree from the Kuybyshev Engineering and Construction Institute, and a degree in Industrial Civil Engineering from the Samara Institute of Civil Engineering, from which he graduated in 1997. Mikhelson is known to be an avid collector of art with a vast personal gallery, and a known supporter of the arts founding V-A-C Foundation (a not-for-profit institute supporting contemporary art in Russia).
Supporting Russian Sport
Leonid Mikhelson companies are committed sponsors of Russian sports teams. Novatek is reported to be the sponsor of Russia’s National Football Union, while Sibur has taken an active role in promoting basketball in Russia in a joint project with the American National Basketball Association (NBA).