10 Things You Didn’t Know About Oleg Deripaska

The world of business has some notable figures, many of whom have created multi-billion dollar empires. In this particular context, our attention is drawn towards Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska. A significant figure in the Russian industrial structure, Deripaska has a reputation that precedes him. In this article, you’ll learn 10 things you didn’t know about Oleg Deripaska:

1. Deripaska’s Early Days

While many might associate Deripaska with his massive fortune, his beginnings were modest. Born in 1968 in Dzerzhinsk, a city in Russia, Deripaska was raised by his widowed mother as his father passed when he was very young. These formative years hold a strong place in his life’s story, as they provided him the determination and resilience that would help shape him as a business leader.

More than his humble beginnings, Deripaska’s early life is an example of his perseverance and determination. He worked his way up from being a regular farmboy to becoming a metal trader, laying the groundwork for his later enterprises. He pursued his education in physics, graduating from Moscow State University, before shifting his focus on industrial economics at Plekhanov Russian University of Economics.

2. His Wealth

As of today, Oleg Deripaska’s net worth stands at approximately $3.6 billion according to Forbes. This wealth comes from his vast interests in varied industrial sectors, with the primary source being the aluminium industry.

Deripaska’s wealth didn’t come easy. In the early 1990s, post his studies, he ventured into the metals trading industry. Building on the experience and the money he gained, he formed an investment firm known as Basic Element. This firm further diversified his economic sphere, propelling him into the billionaire club.

3. Influence in the Aluminium Industry

Deripaska’s most significant claim to fame would arguably be his extraordinary impact on the aluminium industry in Russia. He’s the owner of United Company RUSAL, the world’s second-largest aluminium company.

Through strategic acquisitions and consolidations, Deripaska brilliantly maneuvered his way through a period commonly referred to as the ‘Aluminium Wars’ during the late 90s. This term refers to the emergence of different kingpins who sought control over the lucrative aluminium industry in post-Soviet Russia.

4. Reputation as a Philanthropist

Beneath Deripaska’s hard-nosed business personality lies the heart of a dedicated philanthropist. He’s the founder of Volnoe Delo, Russia’s largest private charitable foundation.

Through this organization, Deripaska has given away millions, primarily towards children’s education and health. Since 1998, the foundation has implemented 500 public initiatives all across Russia, which reveals a side to Deripaska that is far removed from his steel-jawed businessman persona.

5. Relationship with Politics

Historically, Deripaska’s relationship with politics has been complex. He was one of many prominent business tycoons in Russia who flourished under the presidency of Boris Yeltsin.

However, his relationship with the Russian government became more controversial during the tenure of President Vladimir Putin. Alleged ties with political figures across the globe have also drawn media attention, underlining the intersection of his business and political interests.

6. Brush With Austerity

While Deripaska is generally associated with overwhelming wealth, he had to significantly downsize his lifestyle during the 2008 financial crisis. As a result, he divested several of his international holdings and reduced his staff.

Despite his vast resources, Deripaska’s experience during the financial crisis highlighted that even the wealthiest are not immune to economic upheavals. Nevertheless, he surmounted this challenge and came back tougher, ultimately reinforcing his reputation as a resilient business figure.

7. Legal Battle with Michael Cherney

One of Deripaska’s significant legal battles came in the form of a years-long dispute with fellow business tycoon Michael Cherney. The source of the dispute was the ownership of shares in RUSAL.

Ultimately, Deripaska emerged victorious when the case was dismissed in 2012. This situation is a testament to the high-stakes world of business, where even long-term partnerships can break down into economic rivalries.

8. Influence in The Automotive Industry

Deripaska has a considerable interest in the automobile sector, owning GAZ Group – Russia’s largest van and truck manufacturer. GAZ factory was one of the many strategic acquisitions he made during his ambitious expansion spree.

The company now has numerous subsidiaries across multiple sectors – including construction and agriculture. GAZ Group currently employs around 40,000 workers, emphasizing Deripaska’s significant influence in Russia’s automotive industry.

9. Investments in Renewable Energy

Deripaska is also known for redirecting part of his wealth towards renewable energy investments. He sees the future viability of the green energy sector, and he has been involved in hydropower through his energy company, EuroSibEnergo.

This engagement with renewable energy is a crucial indicator of Deripaska’s understanding of the importance of sustainable business practices and his willingness to invest in them.

10. His Status in ‘Forbes’ World’s Billionaires’

Deripaska has been recurrently listed in Forbes’ World’s Billionaires list, making a steady appearance in the rankings. His ranking has fluctuated due to various market forces, but his presence on this list solidifies his standing among the most affluent individuals in the world.

Deripaska is more than just a successful businessman. He is a figurehead in Russian’s economic development, reflecting a broader shift in the Russian industrial fabric. His story is steeped in resilience, determination, and an undying spirit of enterprise.

Useful links:

Forbes Profile
En+ Group
Basic Element
Volnoe Delo Foundation
GAZ Group