Vladimir Olegovich Potanin (Владимир Олегович Потанин in Russian; born 3 January 1961) is a Russian billionaire and entrepreneur. He acquired his wealth notably through the controversial loans-for-shares program in Russia. He is one of the wealthiest men in Russia, with an estimated net worth of $13.5 billion (Forbes 2016). His long-term business partner was Mikhail Prokhorov until they decided to split in 2008. Subsequently, they put their mutual assets in a holding company, Folletina Trading, until their asset division was agreed upon.
Vladimir Potanin in 2003
Vladimir Olegovich Potanin 3 January 1961 (age 56) Moscow, Russia
Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Chairman of Interros
US$13.5 billion (May 2016)
Order “For Merit to the Fatherland” (4th class)
Order of Alexander Nevsky
Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Officier)
Early life and education
Potanin was born in Moscow, in the former USSR, into a high-ranking communist family. In 1978, he attended the faculty of the International economic relations at Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), which groomed students for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Upon graduating MGIMO in 1983, he followed in his father’s footsteps and went to work for the FTO “Soyuzpromexport” with the Ministry of Foreign trade of the Soviet Union.
During perestroika, Vladimir Potanin quit the State’s structures of Foreign trade and in 1991 created the private association Interros using his knowledge gathered at Ministry of Foreign trade and his previous professional network. In 1993, Potanin became President of United Export Import Bank. From 14 August 1996 until 17 March 1997 he worked as First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. Since August 1998, Potanin has held the positions of both President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Interros Company.
Potanin’s Interros owns 30% and controls Russian Nickel giant Norilsk Nickel, a company owned by Oleg Deripaska’s RUSAL, Abram Reznikov’s Alamak Espana Trade and Alisher Usmanov’s Metalloinvest. Since March 2003 Potanin has taken charge of the National Council on Corporate Governance (NSKU), whose main goal is to improve the legislative regulations in Russia and to introduce professional and ethical standards of corporate governance into the operations of Russian companies to boost up the reputation and investment appeal of the Russian business.
Since December 2001 he has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation (NYC). In April 2003 Potanin was elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the State Hermitage, the most renowned Russian art museum. Since 2005 Potanin has been a member of the Public Chamber of Russia. In Paris in January 2007, he was named an Officer of the prestigious Order of Arts and Literature for his cultural contributions. The French Ministry of Culture and Communications granted the award. In March 2009, he sued former business partner Mikhail Prokhorov for $29 million over a property disagreement in Moscow.
In May 2015 Potatin has been named a co-defendant in a case in which Vneshekonombank is looking for damages for losses from the liquidation of a corporation where he indirectly owned a stake.
Vladmir Potanin’s first marriage was to Natalia Potanina; the couple have three children. The pair divorced in December 2013. Potanin was married a second time in 2014 to Ekaterina. Potanin is fluent in Russian, English, and French.
He is the owner of two luxury motoryachts, both built by Oceanco: