Igor Albertovich Kesaev (Игорь Кесаев) ranks among the world’s top billionaires and is the 51st richest person in Russia, with an estimated net worth of 3.6 billion according to Forbes. As a native of the country, Kesaev amassed his wealth in various industries such as tobacco, retail and distribution. He is known as one of the world’s self-made billionaires.
Igor Kesaev was born in 1966, and in 1993 graduated with a degree from Moscow State Institute of International Affairs. Even before graduating, in 1991 he created Mercury—a company focused on trade imported products and alcohol. Mercury was Phillip Morris’s Russian distributor. Among Kesaev’s career highlights is the term he served as the General Director of TD Mercury from 1993 through 1997. The company was a magnificently large distributor, occupying 70% of the Russian market with its 190 branches.
Onwards and Upwards
Mercury continued to grow, and Kesaev along with it. He became President of the Mercury Group of Companies, a position he has held since 1998, and Mercury Group became the parent company of Dixy – the third largest food retail company in Russia, in which Kesaev owns a controlling stake. Dixy hold stores in key regions of the country which fuel its popularity and growth, and has eight distribution centers and a fleet of trucks to supply each of its branches. The distribution centers, combined with their network of trucks ensure that products are distributed quickly and in a cost effective manner. In 2010 Dixy’s revenue amounted to over $2 billion. Kesaev has been the Director of Dixy Group OJSC since April 2008.
Igor Kesaev serves as an Executive at Bennfield Ltd. He also serves as Chairman of the CJSC Trade Company, Megapolis.
Kesaev has his hand in many different industries, and has used his industry knowledge to participate in several groundbreaking deals. In 2005 he bought a stake in the oil company Sibir Energy, which he sold to Gazpromneft four years later. The Mercury City tower, which is the tallest building in Europe and is owned by Mercury Development, sold five floors to Japan Tobacco International (JTI) in 2012. In 2011 Dixy acquired the retail chain Victoria. Dixy is now the third-biggest retailer in Russia.
Perhaps among the most impressive deals that Kesaev was involved in was also one of the largest deals that the Russian consumer market ever saw. It took place in 2013 when Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and Philip Morris announced that they would buy a 20% stake in Megapolis. This combined acquisition totalled at a handsome $1.5 billion.
Kesaev is married to Stella, with who he has three children. He is a resident of Moscow, Russia, and has been honored with several special awards by the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Federation Ministry of Internal Affairs. Kesaev is an active supporter of the Stella Art Foundation, which he actively participates in alongside his wife, who heads the organization.