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.
From August 14, 1996 to March 17, 1997 he served as the first deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation in charge of economic issues.
During his time in office, Mr. Potanin headed twenty or so federal, governmental, and inter-agency commissions. While working in government, Mr. Potanin was also Russia’s Governor at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
In May 1997, Mr. Potanin reprised his role as president of UNEXIM Bank. After the restructuring of the UNEXIM-MFK-Renaissance Group, he became President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Interros on May 26, 1998.
Mr. Potanin has served as the CEO and Chairman of the Management Board of MMC Norilsk Nickel since December 17, 2012.
In June 2015, Mr. Potanin was nominated President and Chairman of the Management Board of MMC Norilsk Nickel.
In addition to his achievements as a business leader, Mr. Potanin sits on several governmental councils, as well as on the boards of non-profit and employers' organizations, including the Government Council on Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship, the board of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), the Ministry of Defense's Public Council, the Scientific Advisory Council of the Office of the Prosecutor-General, the supervisory council of the Organizing Committee of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, the board of trustees of the non-profit charitable organization the Russian Olympians Foundation, and the board of trustees of the Russian Geographic Society. He also chairs the National Council on Corporate Governance and the supervisory council of the Russian International Olympic University.
Mr. Potanin also has a long track record of philanthropic work. In 1999 he founded the Vladimir Potanin Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization whose mandate is to implement significant long-term educational and cultural projects in Russia. In 2010 he announced his decision to donate the majority of his wealth to philanthropic causes. Three years later, Mr. Potanin signed the Giving Pledge, an international philanthropic initiative. Mr. Potanin has also been a member of the board of trustees of New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation since December 2001. In April 2003, Mr. Potanin was elected chairman of the board of trustees of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. He has also donated $5 million to the museum's endowment fund. Since May 2006, he has sat on the board of trustees of his alma mater, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), and has donated around $6.5 million to the MGIMO endowment fund.
As a member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation from 2006 to 2014, Vladimir Potanin headed the Commissions working to develop charity, philanthropy and volunteerism, and to develop philanthropy and legislation of not-for-profit organizations. Under his stewardship, the Commissions have formulated a number of proposals to significantly improve the legislative framework for charitable work in Russia, namely: the Federal law on endowment funds and their use by not-for-profit organizations, developed by the Commission together with the Ministry of Social and Economic Development, and which came into force in 2007; amendments to the Tax Code on the activity of not-for-profit organizations and philanthropy in general; and changes to the Law on Advertisement that have created favorable conditions for socially-minded advertisement.
Mr. Potanin has been the recipient of numerous medals and awards from the Russian government, the Orthodox Church, and from foreign governments
The Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 4th, 3rd, 2nd class (2007, 2016, 2019), the Order of Alexander Nevsky (2014), the Russian Federation Presidential Certificate of Honour (2010), the Certificates of Gratitude of the President of Russia (1996, 2012, 2018)
Government Decorations: the “850th Anniversary of Moscow” and “300th Anniversary of St. Petersburg” state commemorative medals.
For services to the Russian Orthodox Church, he was awarded the Order of St. Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Vladimir, 2nd and 3rd class (1993, 1995); the Order of St. Sergius of Radonezh, 3rd, 2nd, 1st class (1996, 2001, 2018); the Order of the Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow, 2nd and 1st class (2002, 2015); the Patriarchal Award of St. Barbara the Great-Martyr (2017), 1st class; and the Order of St. Seraphim of Sarov, 1st class (March 2012), the jubilee medal 1000th Anniversary of the Repose of Saint Prince Vladimir (2015), a medal in honor of the 100th anniversary of the restoration of the Patriarchate (2017), a medal of the 1st degree of the Saratov Metropolitanate «The Icon of Christ of Edessa» (2020).
Badge of Honor for Philanthropy and Charity from the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation (2002). Honorary Badge of the Governor of the Tver Region «For Charity. Grand Duchess Anna Kashinskaya»(2020).
Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters (2007), the Order of St. Paul the Apostle (Cyprus) for his social and humanitarian activities in support of the church (2012); the Order of the Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur (2017).
Prize of the International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations (2003).
Was honored by the Russian Imperial House with the Order of St. Anna, 2nd class for service to his country and the Russian Orthodox Church.
The State Diploma and the Golden Olive Branch in gratitude for his profound contribution to the development of cultural links and fostering friendly relations between their two countries (2010).