Biography Philanthropists

Leonid Mikhelson

Leonid Mikhelson
Leonid Mikhelson.jpg

Mikhelson in 2016
Born Leonid Viktorovich Mikhelson
11 August 1955 (age 63)
KaspiyskRussian SFSR
Residence Moscow, Russia
Alma mater Kuibyshev Civil Engineering Institute
Occupation CEO, chairman and major shareholder of the Russian gas company Novatek
Net worth US$19.7 billion (August 2018)[1]
Spouse(s) Married
Children 2

Leonid Viktorovich Mikhelson (RussianЛеонид Викторович Михельсон; born 11 August 1955) is a Russian billionaire businessman, CEO, chairman and major shareholder of the Russian gas company Novatek.[2] Novatek is subject to US sanctions.[3]

According to Forbes, his personal fortune was estimated at US$18.2 billion as of 2017.[1]


Born to a Jewish family,[4] Mikhelson began his career as an engineer after[5] graduating with a degree in Industrial Civil Engineering from the Samara Institute of Civil Engineering in 1977. He started working as a[6] foreman at a construction and assembling company in the Tyumen area of Siberia. One of his[7] initial projects was work on the Urengoi-Chelyabinsk gas pipeline. In 1985, he was[7] appointed as Chief Engineer of Ryazantruboprovodstroy. In 1987, he became General Director of Kuibishevtruboprovodstroy. In 1991, Kuibishevtruboprovodstroy was one of the first companies to undergo privatization after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Mikhelson continued as Managing Director at the company, which has been renamed NOVA, until October 1994. He then became General Director of its holding company, Novafinivest, which later became known as NOVATEK. From 2008 until 2010 Mikhelson was Chairman of the Board of Directors for OAO Stroytransgas and OOO Art Finance. He currently holds the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors of ZAO SIBUR and serves on the Supervisory Board of OAO Russian Regional Development Bank.

SIBUR is a gas processing and petrochemicals company operating 26 production sites across Russia with headquarters in Moscow. Mikhelson owns 57.5% interest in Sibur. He also holds a 25% stake in Novatek.[8]

He also owns the megayacht Pacific.[9]

Mikhelson has a strong interest in art, stating that “99 per cent” of his interest is in Russian and contemporary art.[10] He also established his own foundation, the V-A-C Foundation, which promotes contemporary Russian art, and has international ties with the New Museum in New York, the Tate museums in the UK , and London’s Whitechapel gallery.[11] In May 2017, the foundation also opened an exhibition space in Venice and work is underway to develop V-A-C’s first major art centre in Moscow, whose main site is an historic power station on the banks of the Moskva River. Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the new centre for contemporary arts and culture in Moscow is due to open in 2019.[12]

Notable Partnerships[edit]

Mikhelson often partners with Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko[13] on business and investment projects. They are partners and majority shareholders in Novatek and Sibur. In 2013, Mikhelson and Timchenko sold 12% of Sibur to management partners. Both Mikhelson and Timchenko appear on the Forbes list of billionaires.[14] In 2012, Mikhelson was listed as the second-richest Russian[15] in a number of articles including Bloomberg.[16] Mikhelson and Novatek are the main sponsors of the Russian Football Union.

Mikhelson is the recipient of the Russian Federation’s Order of the Badge of Honor.[17][18]

Personal life[edit]

Mikhelson is married, with two children, and lives in Moscow.[1] His daughter Victoria studied art history at New York University and London’s Courtauld Institute.[19] His VAC Foundation Victoria, the Art of Being Contemporary, is named after her.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. Jump up to:a b c “Forbes profile: Leonid Mikhelson”Forbes. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  2. Jump up^ “NOVATEK : Management”. 2010-12-31. Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  3. Jump up^ Michael Forsythe (November 5, 2017). “Paradise Papers Shine Light on Where the Elite Keep Their Money”. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  4. Jump up^ The world’s 50 Richest Jews: 31-40 By JERUSALEM POST STAFF, 09/07/2010
  5. Jump up^ “Leonid Mikhelson – Chairman of the Board of Directors”
  6. Jump up^ “Leonid Viktorovich Mikhelson”Caspian Energy.
  7. Jump up to:a b “Leonid Mikhelson’s Sibur Buys 25% Joint Venture Interest In New Siberian Polypropylene Plant”. May 29, 2014.
  8. Jump up^ Helman, Christopher. “Novatek’s Leonid Mikhelson: Surviving Russia’s Turmoil”Forbes. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  9. Jump up^ Yachtfan, Peter. “[Leonid Mikhelson]: Inside his Crazy US$ 150,000,000 Yacht PACIFIC” Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  10. Jump up^ “Laying the foundations”Financial Times.
  11. Jump up^ “Moscow’s V-A-C Foundation’s Local and Global Reach – artnet News”artnet News. 2016-07-05. Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  12. Jump up^ “Russian billionaire’s V-A-C Foundation opens space in Venice” Archived from the originalon 2017-05-10.
  13. Jump up^ “Gennady Timchenko”Forbes.
  14. Jump up^ “The World’s Billionaires”Forbes.
  15. Jump up^ “Leonid Mikhelson”Richest Russian.
  16. Jump up^ Shiryaevskaya, Anna (August 22, 2012). “Billionaire Mikhelson Becomes Russia’s Second-Richest Man”Bloomberg Business.
  17. Jump up^ “Novatek to Sponsor Russian Football Union”The Moscow Times. October 31, 2013.
  18. Jump up^ Kozlov, Vladimir (November 4, 2013). “Natural Gas Company Novatek Takes Over Sponsorship Of Russian Football Union”Sports Business.
  19. Jump up to:a b Needham, Alex (13 March 2017). “Prawn sex … and other future sounds of Russia”the Guardian. Retrieved 1 July2018.