Vladimir Potanin’s net worth ranks him fourth among Russia’s billionaires. Until recently a longtime business partner with fellow billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, Potanin is most famous for his involvement in the controversial Russian loans-for-shares program in the mid-1990s. It was primarily through this program the Potanin and others achieved their current status as Russian oligarchs.
Potanin helped create and lead the program to fund the Russian government’s fiscal deficit through a system of auctions in which shares in state-run businesses, such as natural gas and refining operations, were leased to private investors.
While the program was criticized over potential favoritism shown to certain buyers, in 2003, Potanin became the head of the National Council on Corporate Governance. Their main goal is to improve the legislative regulations in Russia and to introduce professional and ethical standards of corporate governance into the operations of Russian companies to boost up the reputation and investment appeal of Russian businesses.
An avid fan of the art world, Potanin has sat as a member of the Board of Trustees at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation since late 2001. He has three children with his first wife Natalia Potanina. He has since married Ekaterina in 2014.