Vladimir Potanin, the founder and president of Interros, was born in Moscow on January 3, 1961. He graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1983 with a degree in International Economics. Shortly after graduation, Mr. Potanin began his career at the USSR's Ministry of Foreign Trade, where he worked until 1990. That year, he became President of the Interros Foreign Trade Association. From 1992 to 1993, he served as the Vice-President, and then as President of the International Company for Finance and Investments (MFK), a banking institution. In 1993 he became President of UNEXIM Bank and Chairman of MFK's Board of Directors.
The Forum’s main sponsors included the Interros Group, RIOU (Russian International Olympic University), Business Online publication, and the Povolzhsky Academy of Fitness, Sports and Tourism.