Andrei Skoch(Андрей Скоч) is a self-made steel baron from Moscow, who continues to increase his profits each year, with savvy investments and an active political career in the State Duma (the lower house of the Russian parliament). Skoch was ranked as the world’s 29th richest mining billionaire in 2012, and wasfeatured as #259 on the Forbes ‘World Billionaires – The Richest People on the Planet’ list for 2015, where his wealth was estimated at $5.2 billion. He was also ranked by Forbes as the 18th richest Russian, and is certainly the wealthiest member of the Russian parliament.
Banking to Business – How to Become a Billionaire
Andrei Skoch was born in 1966, in a small town just outside of Moscow. He graduated from the Institute of Physical Culture and started working at MontazhSpetsBank. He and fellow banker, Lev Kvetnoi, soon joined forces with Alisher Usmanov in the latter’s mining and metallurgical empire. Kvetnoi ran Oskol Metal Works while Skoch was placed in charge of Lebedinsky Mining. A few years later Usmanov consolidated his holdings into the global giant Metalloinvest, with Skoch as a 30% owner in the company. Skoch also has significant investments in Megafon, one of Russia’s largest telecommunications operator, and owns 30% of the parent company, USM Holdings, with Usmanov, who has a 50% stake.
In 2012, Metalloinvest posted earnings of nearly $8 billion and ownership of the largest iron ore deposits outside Australia. The company raised over $3 billion to expand its operations in the years that followed, which included the development of diverse mining projects in Russia and abroad.
Public Involvement Far Beyond Business
In 1999, Skoch became a member of the State Duma of the Russian parliament and continues to serve his country as a member of the Lower House. He is the founder of the Pokolenie Foundation for humanitarian projects, and is the sponsor of The Debut Prize, which has become somewhat of a national treasure in the five years of its existence. The prizes are awarded to Russian writers, under the age of 25, who have completed a full-length novel. The award ensures that young Russian writers get the chance to have their work translated into several European languages, and presented at some of Europe’s most prestigious Book Fairs and literary gatherings.
Skoch is also the sponsor of a memorial in Port Arthur, China. It is a memorial to Russian soldiers who lost their lives in the Russo-Japanese war in 1904.
A More Private Brand of Russian Billionaire
Though he has gathered a media following in the past couple of years, Andrei Skoch is considered a private, conservative man who doesn’t like to court attention in the European tabloids. He gives few interviews and does not speak about his family or private life. Skoch is divorced, with eight children, lives in Moscow and spends most of his free time with his family. He may have made his first billion before the age of 40, but he certainly doesn’t splash it around like many of his billionaire contemporaries.