Who We Are

Biography of Vladimir Potanin

Vladimir Potanin is the founder of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation, and is a leader of contemporary efforts to build the field of philanthropy in Russia.

Throughout his business career, Mr. Potanin has devoted a major portion of his time and resources to charitable projects. In order to structure these efforts effectively,  he founded The Vladimir Potanin Foundation in 1999,   aiming to implement socially significant, long-term projects in the areas of education and culture, as well as to foster the development of philanthropy in Russia. In donating his private wealth to the Foundation, Mr. Potanin made a concrete commitment to the idea that philanthropic activity can underpin the strengthening and improvement of society overall.

Since 2001 Mr. Potanin has served on the Board of Trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York, and since April 2003 he has been the Head of the Board of Trustees of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

Mr. Potanin has contributed $5 million to the Hermitage Endowment, and was among the founders of the first endowment fund in the Russian Federation, the MGIMO Endowment Foundation of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, his alma mater. He has contributed about $7,5 million to the MGIMO endowment and has served on the Board of Trustees of MGIMO since May 2006.

As Chair of the Commission on Philanthropy Development and Volunteerism of the Public Chamber, Mr. Potanin has been working on philanthropy promotion and development of philanthropic infrastructure since 2006. Under his Chairmanship, the Commission has authored a number of initiatives that helped to improve the legislative framework for the field. One of these achievements is endowment legislation, which came into force in 2007.

In February 2010 Mr. Potanin made a public commitment to give a majority of his wealth to philanthropic causes.

In 2013 he became the first Russian  corporate  leader to join the Giving Pledge initiative.

Born in 1961, Mr. Potanin graduated in 1983 from  the Moscow State Institute of International Relations with a degree in international economics. In 1990 he founded Interros, a holding company with investments in mining, metals manufacturing, real estate, tourism, infrastructure and media, with a total of approximately 15 billion dollars in assets under management. Interros became co-founder of Russian International Olympic University in Sochi. The company was also one of major developers of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.

Since 2012 Mr. Potanin has been the CEO of Nornickel, a leading mining company.

Mr. Potanin enjoys travel and sports. He skis, plays badminton, water sports and chess.

In his own words:

“People have a natural desire to change the world for the better. And the more successful you are and the more opportunities you have, the more this inclination to change things around you grows.”