Mikhail Fridman

No. 48 in the world - Richest RussianMikhail FridmanMikhail Maratovitch Fridman (Михаи́л Фри́дман) is a self-made Russian billionaire investor and philanthropist. He was born in 1964, in Lvov, Ukraine. He amassed his wealth with his partners by founding and running the Alfa Group Consortium investment house. Currently, Alfa Group Consortium is Russia’s largest private investment firm. Forbes estimates that he is the second richest person in Russia and one of the fifty wealthiest people in the world. He has assets worth about $17.6 billion. As a Russian Jew, he is active in Russian and Jewish causes. 

Rise to Wealth
Mikhail Fridman graduated from Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys in 1986, as an Engineer. For a short time, he worked as engineer. In 1988, he started working in financial services. In 1989, he co-founded Alfa Group Consortium with German Khan and Alexei Kuzmichev, his university friends, among others. They continue to run Alfa Group together as partners. Fridman earned his wealth by investing in a diversified portfolio with emphasis in the financial services, investment companies, oil and gas. He has expanded his holding into a variety of Russian and international holdings including the telecom, utilities and retail industries. 

Alfa-Eco to A1
In 1989, Fridman, Kahn, and Kuzmichev started a commodities trading company called Alpha-Eco. They invested in a diversified portfolio. Later Alfa-Eco was renamed A1.

In 1990, Mikhail Fridman cofounded Alpha-Bank. As of 2014, Forbes considers Alfa-Bank Russia’s largest private bank with $53.2 billion in assets in 2013. Alfa Group, Alfa-Eco and Alfa-Bank provided Fridman with the resources to close many big transactions.

British Petroleum and Tyumen Oil TNK-BP
In the early 1990’s, Mikhail Fridman invested in British Petroleum with Alfa Group. In 1997, he expanded his oil and gas holdings with the discounted purchase of Tyumen Oil. The two merged to form TNK-BP. The merger was a great success allowing them to pool technological resources. In 2013, Fridman received $5.1 billion when he and his partners sold their shares in TNK-BP. 

From Perekrestok Stores to X5 Retail Group
In 1995, Alfa Group opened Perekrestok supermarket. It became a large Russian supermarket chain. Now it is one of many retail chains operated by X5 Retail Group N.V. with over 4,600 stores. It is Russia’s second largest retailer.

In 2011, VimpleCom a telecom company that was run by Alfa Group became the sixth largest telecom provider in the world when it acquired the Egyptian oligarch Naguib Sawiris’ telecom holdings. 

Philanthropy Projects 
Mikhail Fridman is an active philanthropist who supports many organizations that contribute to Russian humanitarian, community and educational programs. He cofounded the Russian Jewish Congress and The Genesis Philanthropy Group to promote Jewish educational, cultural and communal activities for Russians around the world. Through educational programs and media publications, the Russian Jewish Congress attempts to promote tolerance of ethnic groups and reduce antisemitism. Fridman served as vice president of the Russian Jewish Congress. The Genesis Philanthropy group provides grants for a variety of programs to raise Jewish cultural awareness amongst Russian Jews. It offers many grants for cultural and educational projects . 

Fridman also is a major supporter of the European Jewish Fund, which promotes cultural awareness, reconciliation and tolerance among the different ethnic groups in Europe and Russia.

Over the years, Mikhail Fridman has received many honors, including Leaders of the New Europe 2004 by Financial Times and Europe’s Power 25 by Fortune in 2004. In 2003, Bill Clinton presented him with the Golden Plate Award from the International Academy of Achievement. 

Mikhail Fridman is divorced and has four children.