Biography of Gennady Timchenko
Gennady Nikolayevich Timchenko – billionaire entrepreneur, owner of the investment company Volga Group, co-owner of a large international energy trader Gunvor, petrochemical SIBUR Holding, gas producer NOVATEK, railway operator Transoil, construction GK STG and others, cavalier of the French National Order of the Legion of Honor.
The businessman, who is considered a friend of the current head of state, runs the St. Petersburg club SKA, the winner of the Continental Hockey League championship of the 2015/2016 season, heads the KHL Supervisory Board, as well as the Economic Council of the CCI France Russie CCI and a subdivision of the interstate Russian-Chinese business council.
The reorientation from Europe to the PRC, according to analysts, will allow him to retain his influence in the informal system of government of the Russian Federation under Western sanctions, including on decisions on the placement of personnel in the structures of the executive branch of government and the governor’s corps.
Childhood and family of Gennady Timchenko
The future creator of the oil empire, through the structures of which about one third of Russian exports of petroleum products pass, was born on November 9, 1952 in Leninakan (since 1991 – Gyumri). His grandfather and grandmother are from the Kharkiv region, which explains the Ukrainian surname. His father was a military man, so it is quite understandable that the boy’s childhood took place in different countries and cities, at the place of service.
So he lived in Armenia until he was 7 years old. After that, their family spent six years in the military garrison of Soviet troops in eastern Germany. Then his father was sent to the city of Bolgrad, located in Ukraine, near the Moldovan border, where his son continued his studies and graduated from school.
After receiving secondary education, Gennady decided to become a submariner and tried to enter the appropriate school in Leningrad, but did not pass the medical expert commission. However, the young man did not give up his intention to become a student of the university and successfully passed the entrance exams to the famous Voenmekh.
Career of Gennady Timchenko
After graduation, the young mechanical engineer was assigned to the Izhora plant in Kolpino in the south of Leningrad, where, since 1976, he worked as a foreman of the electromechanical workshop for the production of generators for nuclear power plants.
Very soon he received an invitation to work in a division of the USSR Ministry of Foreign Trade as a senior engineer, whose duties included frequent foreign business trips, which allowed some bibliographers to suggest his connection with the domestic special services. Gennady himself denied belonging to the KGB. He repeatedly visited Switzerland and Suomi, made business acquaintances there, which were useful to him later.
Successfully moving up the career ladder, in 1988 he became deputy director of the foreign trade company KiNEks, created a year earlier on the basis of the country’s largest oil refinery in the city of Kirishi, Leningrad Region, and which received the right to supply oil abroad. There he met his future business partners Andrey Katkov and Evgeny Malov.
Registration of foreign trade transactions required a large number of approvals from the controlling services. To streamline the oil marketing process, the three friends have teamed up with former KGB officer Andrei Pannikov. Thanks to his connections, he was able to help establish the Russian-Finnish joint venture Urals, where all of the company’s export flows were subsequently transferred.
Business of Gennady Timchenko
Gennady went to work in the foreign division of the created enterprise and moved to Suomi. In 1995, the joint venture changed its name to International Petroleum Products Oy (translated as International Oil Products, Oy is the Finnish sign of the company’s name). Soon it was headed by Gennady.
In 1997, a successful entrepreneur, in partnership with Swedish businessman Torbjorn Tornqvist, founded the Gunvor company, through which Gazprom Neft, Surgutneftegaz, Rosneft and others were selling oil abroad. As a result, Timchenko became one of the richest people in the country. In 1999, due to the prohibition of dual citizenship in Suomi, he renounced the status of a citizen of the Russian Federation (this ban was later lifted), in 2001, he changed his place of permanent residence to Switzerland.
In 2007, the businessman created the venture company Vоlga Resоurсes, which united a number of his assets (shares of Novatek, Yamal LNG, STG and other companies).
Personal life of Gennady Timchenko
The financial tycoon is married. His wife’s name is Elena. They met on the student’s bench through mutual acquaintances. Both studied at Voenmeh, only Elena became a radio engineer. Three years after they met, they got married.
The couple raised three children: the youngest son Sergei and two daughters, Natalia and Xenia. The eldest daughter graduated from Oxford, Ksenia – the University of Edinburgh, the son studied in Switzerland at school, and returned to receive higher education in Russia.
Gennady has long and often been involved in philanthropy. In 1998, in collaboration with the Rothenbergs, he participated in the organization (on Putin’s advice) of the Yavara-Neva judo club, in which the head of state became an honorary president. Together with his wife Elena, they initiated the establishment of the Neva, Klyuch, Ladoga funds, through which hundreds of social, cultural and sports projects were implemented.
Gennady and Elena Timchenko Foundation supported the Russian province
Elena was also a co-owner and head of transport and trade companies – Sogeko Holding, Maples, Kerring Finance, Relais & Chateaux hotels in France. In 2012, she and their youngest daughter Ksenia (wife of the son of the head of Sovcomflot Sergei Frank) were awarded the Orders of Friendship of the Russian Federation.
The oligarch became the organizer of the creation of a permanent exhibition of Russian art in the Parisian Louvre, for which in 2013 he was awarded the Order of the Legion of Honor. He is a co-trustee of the National Geographic Society, the Chess Federation.
For the head of the family, sport is a special passion. He is passionate about sailing, is the captain of his own Katusha team, and has participated in the international RC44 yacht regatta.
Gennady Timchenko about SKA in the 2015/2016 season
Gennady Nikolaevich loves tennis, alpine skiing, hockey, heads the Board of Directors of the SKA hockey club, plays on the ice field with famous hockey players, the president and high-ranking officials, billionaire entrepreneurs (Pavel Bure, Vladimir Putin, Sergei Shoigu, Vladimir Potanin, Arkady and Boris Rotenbergami) into non-professional hockey, and also adores his dog Romy, who is the daughter of Koni, the President’s Labrador Retriever.
Interview with SKA President Gennady Timchenko
Gennady Timchenko today
In 2011, the entrepreneur expanded his business interests and began trading in coal. Through Gunvor, he acquired a controlling stake in the Yakut coal mining enterprise Kolmar, a stake in Leeuw Mining and Exploration (South Africa), Signal Peak (USA). Then he bought French hotels, a Scandinavian airline, a German insurance company, and a domestic salmon producer, Russian Sea, which was renamed Russian Aquaculture.
In 2014, the billionaire came under US and EU sanctions imposed due to Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, and allegedly due to the fact that Vladimir Putin is an investor in Gunvor who has access to his funds. Gennady began to save his numerous assets – he transferred his share in the Russian Sea to his son-in-law Gleb Frank, sold Gunvor to a partner, got rid of shares in the oil company IIP and others. In addition, the United States allegedly launched an investigation into alleged money laundering in Gunvor during the period of operations to export the “black gold” mined by Rosneft. In May of the same year, the oligarch announced the complete transfer of his capital to Russia.
What is Putin’s richest friend Gennady Timchenko building on Rublyovka?
After completing his children’s education abroad, the billionaire settled in Russia. This time coincided with his entry into the sanctions lists. He lives in the former residence of Nikita Khrushchev, the former first secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, with a marble fireplace and interior decoration made of noble species of wood, located in Moscow in a nature reserve in Vorobyovy Gory. The personal fortune of the tycoon in 2015 was estimated by Forbes at $ 10.7 billion.