Oleg Deripaska

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Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska is a well-known Russian oligarch and philanthropist who developed and owns ‘Basic Element’ (formerly ‘Siberian Aluminium,’ which is one of Russia’s most diverse industrial conglomerates. He is also the CEO of ‘United Firm RUSAL,’ the world’s sixth largest aluminium corporation, and owns and controls the Russian energy-related company ‘En+ Group.’ This clever and nimble entrepreneur graduated from ‘Moscow State University’ with a degree in physics and began his career as a metals broker specializing in trading aluminum before moving on to equipment, agribusiness, energy, and financial services. In 2000, Deripaska’s ‘Sibirsky Aluminium’ and Roman Abramovich’s ‘Millhouse Capital’ amalgamated to become ‘Rusal,’ which merged with ‘Glencore International AG’ and ‘SUAL Group’ in 2007 to form ‘United Company RUSAL,’ with Deripaska as chairman. Deripaska lost much of his money, estimated to be over $28 billion, during the financial crisis of 2007-08, owing to massive and mounting debts, and so fell from his position as Russia’s richest man. According to Forbes, he has a net worth of $5.2 billion as of May 2017. His humanitarian initiatives led to the establishment of Russia’s largest philanthropic foundation, ‘Volnoe Delo.’ He has a tight relationship with Russia’s current President, Vladimir Putin.

Table of Contents

Childhood and Adolescence

Oleg Deripaska was born in a Kuban Cossack family in Dzerzhinsk, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russian SFSR, on January 2, 1968, and raised in Ust-Labinsk, Krasnodar Krai.

His father died when he was a child, and his mother, an engineer by trade, was forced to relocate to find work. He was mostly reared by his grandparents, who instilled in him a love of farming and a commitment to hard labor.

Deripaska had his first job as an electrician’s apprentice at the Ust-Labinsk plant, where his mother was already working before he was even a teenager.

He enrolled in the physics faculty of ‘Moscow State University in 1985 and received his bachelor’s degree in physics with honors from the university in 1993.

In the meanwhile, he was drafted into the Soviet army’s Strategic Missile Forces in the Trans-Baikal region of Siberia in 1986 and served there until 1989.

He enrolled at the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics in 1996 after being unable to finish his studies as a theoretical physicist due to the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s breakup.
From a young age, he was interested in reading and particularly enjoyed the works of Jack London and Mayne Reid.

The Career of Oleg

His first metal trading company, VTK, was founded by him. At the age of 25, he founded it with the help of other engineers, rocket scientists, and physicists. He engaged in export arbitrage, buying metal at Russian prices that were significantly lower than the international market price at which it was sold.

He used the majority of the gains from such dealings to purchase a stake in the ‘Sayanogorsk Aluminium Smelter,’ a smelter in Southern Siberia. He went on to buy more smelting shares and vouchers in 1993-94, becoming the company’s second-largest individual stakeholder after the Russian government, with a 20 percent interest.

He was the sole shareholder and General Manager of the smelter from 1994 until 1997. In 1994, he was promoted to Director General of the plant.

While Deripaska was President of Sibirsky Aluminium Investment Industrial Group from 1997 to 2001, the ‘Sayanogorsk Smelter’ became the major asset of Sibirsky (Siberian) Aluminium Group. Rusal’s major asset finally became the investment industrial group.

He went on to become a shareholder in a variety of businesses, including banking and insurance services, manufacturing, auto components, energy, construction, agricultural, and aviation, in addition to metals.

He is the owner of ‘Basic Element,’ a company he created in 1997. It has grown into one of Russia’s most diverse industrial conglomerates, with main holdings centered in six economic sectors: manufacturing, energy, financial services, mining, agribusiness, airport management, construction, and real estate.

‘United Company RUSAL’, ‘Ingosstrakh’, ‘Aviator’, ‘EuroSibEnergo’, ‘GAZ Group’, ‘Basel Aero’, and ‘Kuban Agroholding’ are among the significant assets of ‘Basic Element.’

With roughly 250,000 employees, the Moscow-based firm owns enterprises and subsidiaries throughout Russia, Australia, Asia, the CIS, Latin America, Europe, and Africa. It was known as ‘Siberian Aluminium’ until 2001.

In 1998, he founded the private charitable foundation ‘Volnoe Delo,’ which supports over 400 initiatives in Russia, with a special focus on children and education. It became the largest Russian nonprofit foundation in 2009.

According to sources, Deripaska has donated over $250 million to charitable organizations, mostly for educational purposes.

Deripaska’s ‘Sibirsky Aluminium’ and Roman Abramovich’s ‘Millhouse Capital’ agreed to handle their alumina and aluminum assets together and created a partnership in 2000 to do so, which led to the foundation of Rusal.

In the years since, Rusal has acquired a number of strategically important assets, including a 90% stake in the Russian alumina refinery ‘Boxitogorsk,’ a 50% stake in the Komi alumina project, and a partnership with ‘SUAL,’ a 20% equity interest in ‘Queensland Alumina Limited,’ and a 100% stake in the alumina refinery ‘Nikolaev,’ among others.

In 2004, Deripaska served as Russia’s representative on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council (ABAC).

In 2006, he became President and majority shareholder of EN+ Group, a diversified energy, mining, and metals company. Apart from other businesses, the group owns a 100% ownership in the PLC power company ‘EuroSibEnergo’ and a controlling stake of 48.13 percent in ‘United Company RUSAL.’

In 2007, Rusal merged with Glencore International AG and SUAL Group to form ‘United Company RUSAL.’ It became the first Russian firm to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2010, making it the first Russian company to do so.

‘United Company RUSAL’ grew throughout time and finally became the world’s largest aluminum producer until the ‘Hongqiao Group’ from China took over in 2015. Deripaska currently serves as President of the firm, which employs more than 72,000 people in 19 locations across five continents.

In 2013, he earned the Medal Bulletin Awards for Excellence’s ‘Aluminium Sector Ambassador Award’ for his “strong influence within the global aluminum industry and the wider market.”His company designed many of the Olympic facilities for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Aside from his business interests, Deripaska has held a number of important posts, including Chairman of ABAC Russia since 2007. He is the chairman of the Russian National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce’s executive board.

He is the Vice President of the ‘Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs,’ as well as a member of the ‘Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship Council,’ a Russian government organization.

He serves on the boards of trustees of a number of organizations, including St. Petersburg State University’s School of Business Administration, Moscow State University’s School of Economics, and the Bolshoi Theatre.

Personal History and Legacy

In February 2001, he married Polina Yumasheva. Valentin Yumashev, a Russian politician, journalist, and business developer is her father. He is also the top advisor and son-in-law of Boris Yeltsin, the first President of the Russian Federation.

He and Polina have two children, a son named Pyotr born in 2001, and a daughter named Maria born in 2003.

Estimated net worth

Deripaska, Oleg Oleg Deripaska has a net worth of $3 billion and is a Russian businessman. He made the majority of his income as the CEO of Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum company.

Deripaska is the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Basic Element, a key figure among Russian oligarchs today.