The Son of Sergei Ivanov: Banks, Insurance and Diamonds

Fantastic success before he was 30, when your father is Putin’s friend
22.08.2017
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How successful can you be if your father is a friend of the president? Mikhail Shubin looks into the development of one of the most "successful" managers in Russia, the youngest son of Sergei Ivanov.


Sergei Ivanov is one of the titans of civil service. He first represented the interests of the USSR, and then Russia. Once he was even called one of the probable successors to the presidency after Putin, along with Medvedev. However, everything turned out differently.

In 2016, Ivanov was dismissed from his post as head of the presidential administration and was appointed as the president’s special envoy for environmental protection and ecology. For a person who started his career in the KGB and the SVR, which was in charge of the Ministry of Defense, the protection of wildlife was clearly not as interesting. Perhaps Ivanov was appointed to this position because of his hobby, he is very fond of animals. In 2011, he, among other officials, ran the NGO "Eurasian Center for the Study, Conservation and Restoration of Leopard Populations" and took care of the rare animal on behalf of President Vladimir Putin.

"I love living creatures. With age, you come to the sad conclusion that it is more comfortable with cats and dogs than with some people. A dog is the man's best friend, it will never betray you. With cats, too, everything is fine. I have a cat at home, I used to have a dog ... I love nature in general. But I'm not Greenpeace adept, I do not like Greenpeace adepts," - Ivanov told RBK in 2013.

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Sergei Ivanov-senior, photo - RIA Novosti

Sergei Ivanov still oversees the organization. However, it is now called NGO "Far Eastern Leopards." It is registered in Moscow, although its founders are the Sochi National Park GUS and the Association of Caucasian Reserves and National Parks. The finances of the non-profit organization are not known, it hasn’t reported anything to the Ministry of Justice.

Ivanov has applied his "bureaucratic" experience to the supervisory board of state corporation Rostek since April 2017, where he is responsible for assisting in the development, production and export of high-tech industrial products.

Sergei Ivanov fathered two sons Alexander and Sergei. Alexander Ivanov was killed in 2014, when he drowned while on vacation in the UAE. At the time of the incident, he was deputy chairman of the board for Vnesheconombank.

His younger son, Sergei also followed his father’s steps into the banking sphere and by the age of 30 he had become a shareholder of Gazprombank and joined the board of directors. How did he do it?

Career start

Sergei Sergeevich Ivanov was born in 1980, while his father studied at the Red Banner Institute of the KGB, a higher educational institution where Soviet scouts were trained.

At the age of 21, Ivanov Jr. graduated from MGIMO with a degree in Economics, and a year later received a diploma from the same university with a degree in Finance and Credit. Almost immediately after graduation, he was hired as a leading specialist in the State Investment Corporation (Gosinkor).

Gosinkor was created in 1993 by the decree of Boris Yeltsin. The authorized capital of the company was $ 1.25 billion and it was planned that Gosinkor would attract foreign investments. At the time when Ivanov Jr. started working at Gosinkor, it was headed by Vladimir Chernov, a former scout, who worked with Ivanov at the KGB's residence in Finland. In 2005, Chernov became the head of the secretariat for Ivanov the elder, when he became deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation.

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Sergei Ivanov Jr., photo –  Vedomosti

In 2003, Gosinkor was liquidated, and Ivanov Jr. moved to work for OAO Gazprom, in a very good position. At the age of 23 the young man was appointed chief expert for the international projects department. A year later, he became an assistant referent for the Chairman of the Board of Gazprombank.  Yevgeny Plyusin, a former employee of the KGB in Leningrad and Leningrad region, was in charge of the bank at that time and Ivanov Sr. also worked in that department.

In 2005, Ivanov junior made a rapid leap in his career, at the age of 24 he became  vice-president of Gazprombank. Three years later, he occupies the post of Deputy Chairman of the Board of Gazprombank, where he is responsible for working with the authorities and coordinating the special projects.

At the same time, Ivanov Jr. was on the boards of directors of a number of companies: Atomstroyexport, Gazprombank-invest, Gazprombank Leasing, Armenian-Russian Export-Import Bank (Gazprombank), Khimmash Group , Outpost Management, Izhorskiye Zavody, United Machine-Building Plants, Carbon Trade & Finance SIGAR S. A. In addition, he was deputy chairman of the board of directors of Sibirgazbank.

In early April 2011, the Board of Directors of Gazprombank decided to terminate Ivanov's powers ahead of schedule. However, this turned out to be a promotion rather than a dismissal - on the same day, 5th April, he was appointed the head of the board of the SOGAZ group. The company - one of the largest participants of the insurance market, was founded in 1993 as a subsidiary of Gazprom. The past head of the board of SOGAZ Vadim Yanov left his post allegedly at his own request.

"The shareholders gave Sergei Ivanov great trust as a professional financier who, despite his relative youth, has extensive experience of interaction with leading Russian corporations. This experience, which he received during his work in Gazprombank, will help SOGAZ significantly expand the range of corporate clients and increase its market share," Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Board of Directors of OAO Sogaz and the head of Gazprom, commented on the appointment.

One of Ivanov Jr.’s first public actions at SOGAZ was the signing of a memorandum on strategic partnership between the insurance group and the state company Russian Highways, the chairman of supervisory board of which is his father. Avtodor and SOGAZ agreed to a strategic partnership.

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Mutually beneficial partnership, photo – Ruda I Metally

Simultaneously with his arrival in SOGAZ, Ivanov Jr. became chairman of the supervisory board of the Russian Nuclear Insurance Pool (RNIP). The structure unites insurance organizations engaged in insurance and reinsurance of risks associated with possible environmental radiation contamination.

After two and a half months there were media reports that Sergei Ivanov, Jr. would lead the supervisory board of Rosselkhozbank. The decision, apparently, was made at the very top. Presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich confirmed the nomination of Ivanov's son to the supervisory board. Vedomosti sources in the Kremlin said that the presidential administration on the contrary did not want to agree on the candidacy of Ivanov because there are too many sons of officials in Rosselkhozbank, at that time the son of the former head of FSS Nikolai Patrushev occupied the position of chairman of the board of this bank.

As a result, on June 23, 2011 Ivanova Jr. was appointed to the Board of Directors of Gazprombank. At the same time, of course, he retained his position in SOGAZ.

Money and diamonds

Ivanov left the insurance company five years later, but only in order to return to the banking sector. In April 2016, he became vice-president of Sberbank. There he began to develop the "Welfare Management" department, which combines insurance and pension programs, as well as asset management services for individuals and legal entities.

"Sergei Ivanov is an effective top manager. I am convinced that his arrival will strengthen Sberbank’s team and allow us to bring the work of the most important department for the bank to a new level of development," German Gref, the head of Sberbank, commented on the appointment.

The heads of state corporations have always left voluntarily to make room for Sergei Ivanov, Jr. and this was repeated again in early March 2017 when he left the bank and went to work in an unexplored previously public sector, diamond extraction.

Ivanov Jr. was personally informed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev about the appointment as the president of the diamond-mining company ALROSA and the signing of the government directive on his new position. The thirty-one-year manager even asked Medvedev for permission to immediately start fulfilling his duties. The Prime Minister replied: "Come on, of course."

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Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Sergei Ivanov, Jr., photo – Yakutiya

Thus, Ivanov Jr. was entrusted with the largest diamond mining company in Russia. It accounts for about 95% of Russian extraction of these precious stones, and almost a third globally.

This appointment was the most difficult for Ivanov, when, six months into his tenure, there was an accident at the "Mir" diamond mine in Yakutia, owned by the company Alrosa. On August 4, a breakthrough of water at the mine trapped 151 miners, 143 of which were rescued on the first day after the accident. By August 20, the company "Alrosa" decided to conduct explosions at the mine to continue the search operations.

The cause of the accident, according to the official statement of Alrosa, was a sharp increase in the flow of water from the bowl of the spent quarry. All safety requirements, as the company assured, were met at the mine and an equipment test was conducted.

The former top manager of Alrosa, Yuri Doinikov, disagreed with the conclusion. It was he who supervised the construction of the Mir mine. Doinikov believes that, contrary to the original design decision, the cramp was decreased (a part of the mineral deposits that are left untouched to protect against possible water breakthroughs - author’s notes) from 100 to 30 meters.

According to Doinikov, drilling operations were performed on the entire surface of the cramp, whereas "its integrity was by no means possible until the very end of the development." A former top manager suggested that this was done in order to extract diamonds with minimal costs.


Video: Doinikov on Alrosa

In response to Doinikov's assumptions, Sergei Ivanov, Jr. offered to meet to discuss the project's shortcomings. Whether the meeting took place or not is unknown.

As RBK wrote, the owner of the Mir mine was insured by SOGAZ, ensuring managers are insured in case their decisions suddenly bring the company losses. According to the company's annual report, two shareholders from the supervisory board were also insured in SOGAZ for 7.6 million rubles each.

Both the guilty party and the losses, will affect the career of the young president of the company. Because no matter how simple the last name "Ivanov" seems, when your father is a friend of the president and is a member of the Security Council, you can always find a job for yourself.

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