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Mikhail Prokhorov (Russian: Михаил Прохоров; born May 3, 1965) is a Russianmarker self-made billionaire. After graduation from Moscow Finance Institute he made his name in the financial sector and went on to become one of Russia's leading industrialists in the precious metals sector. He became the former chairman of Norilsk Nickel, through funding from Standby Letters of Credit, which provided the capital, and he became the world's largest producer of nickel and palladium. He is the current chairman of Polyus Gold, Russia's largest gold producer. He reportedly stands 6' 9".

Prokhorov is currently the richest man in Russia and the 40th richest man in the world according to the 2009 Forbes list with an estimated fortune of $9.5 billion.

In May 2007, Prokhorov launched a $17 billion private investment fund, Onexim Group, focused on the development of nanotechnology, including hydrogen fuel cells, as well as other high-technology projects and non-ferrous and precious metals mining. One of the key areas of development is the production of materials with ultra–tiny structures used in energy generation and medicine. In June 2007, then-Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov announced the formation of the Government Council for Nanotechnology, to oversee the development of nanotechnology in the country. Prokhorov was one of 15 individuals appointed to the council, which was to be chaired by then-First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov.


From 1989 to 1992 he was head of the International Bank for Economic Cooperation's Management Board. In 1993, aged 28, during the largely un-regulated privatization of former state-controlled industries after the fall of Communism, Prokhorov (together with Vladimir Potanin) engineered the acquisition of Norilsk Nickel by the Onexim Bank, of which he was then chairman of the board.

Norilsk Nickel

Mikhail Prokhorov
Mikhail Prokhorov
Prokhorov has been credited with transforming Norilsk from an inefficient conglomerate into one of the largest and most profitable natural resource corporations in the world. After selling off most of its non-mining assets, he moved to modernize a complicated, expensive business venture which required icebreakers to transport metal over the frozen Arctic region. Prokhorov invested in an innovative Finnishmarker freighter that did not require icebreakers. Norilsk Nickel is headquartered in the Siberianmarker city of the same name. Environmental and labor conditions are harsh there, and pollution remains a problem; Prokhorov has invested heavily in pollution control. He converted Norilsk Nickel's gold-mining concerns into the $8.5 billion corporation Polyus Gold, Russia's largest gold producer, of which he is chairman of the board.

Prokhorov resigned as Norilsk CEO in February 2007, and hold negotiations to sell his shares for $7.5 billion to Vladimir Potanin's conglomerate Interros.

Renaissance Capital (RenCap)

In September, 2008, Prokhorov acquired 50% of Renaissance Capital.


In March 2004 he founded the Cultural Initiatives Foundation (as part of the Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation). It is headed by Prokhorov's elder sister, Irina, a prominent Russian publisher. He gives financial support to CSKA Moscow's basketball, hockey and football clubs, and is a member of the Supreme Council of the Sport Russia organisation. Now Prokhorov is the president of the Russian Biathlon Union

In September 2009 he made an offer to buy a controlling interest in the New Jersey Nets and half of a project to build a new arena in Brooklyn. He will invest nearly $200 million dollars and become the first non-North American NBA owner.


Mikhail Prokhorov
Prokhorov is known throughout the world and especially in Russia for his lavish lifestyle. He was satirized on a Russian TV commercial for his love of travelling the world in a private jet in the company of beautiful women. He is a keen sportsman. At an annual two-week Christmas party for the Russian rich at the French Alpine resort of Courchevelmarker in January 2007, he was arrested for allegedly arranging prostitutes for his guests. After four days he was released without charge.In September 2009, Prokhorov was officially cleared from this charge and the judicial case was dismissed .

Sports investments

Prokhorov is becoming a strategic investor of New Jersey Nets.According to Bloomberg, Prokhorov is to pay $200 million in order to buy 80% stake in the NJ Nets.


In August 2006 he was awarded the Order of Friendship for his significant contribution to the growth of Russia’s economic potential, when the President of the Russian Federationmarker, Vladimir Putin, signed an order for the granting of state honours on August 18 2006.

See also


  1. Forbes world billionaires: #40 Mikhail Prokhorov
  2. Prokhorov, Potanin to split Interros assets, St-Petersburg Times, February 2, 2007
  3. Prokhorov Acquires Half of RenCap
  4. Russian Biathlon Union
  5. Süddeutsche:Russen im Wintersport
  6. France drops prostitution case against Russia's richest man, Sidney Morning Herald, September 29, 2009

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