Len Blavatnik is an American businessman, currently living in New York and London, including at a home on Kensington Palace Gardens.
Born in the Soviet Union, he attended University in Moscow. He emigrated with his family from Russia to the U.S. in 1978, and became an American citizen in 1984. He received a master's in computer science from Columbia University and an MBA degree from Harvard Business School in 1989. In the West, he is known as Len Blavatnik.
In 1986 he founded Access Industries, a New York-based international industrial group, of which he is Chairman and President. Access has long-term strategic holdings in Europe, North and South America. Initially, he moved into Russian investments, just after the fall of communism. With a friend from University, Viktor Vekselberg, he formed the Renova investment vehicle, and the two joined with Mikhail Fridman's Alfa Group to form the AAR venture. Access has diversified its portfolio to include investments in industries such as oil, aluminum, petrochemicals and plastics, telecommunications, media, and real estate.
AAR gained a controlling stake in Russian oil company TNK through privatisation auctions, then in 2003 sold a 50% stake to British Petroleum to form TNK-BP, one of Russia's largest oil companies, for which he serves on the board of directors.
Access Industries bought petrochemicals and plastics manufacturer Basell Polyolefins from Royal Dutch Shell and BASF in August 2005, and subsequently merged it with Lyondell Chemical Company to create LyondellBasell Industries, the world's third largest chemical company based on net sales.
On January 6, 2009, the U.S. operations of LyondellBasell Industries filed for bankruptcy.
On April 30, 2010, LyondellBasell announced its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a significantly improved financial position. As part of its exit financing, LyondellBasell raised $3.25 billion of first priority debt as well as $2.8 billion through the rights offering jointly underwritten by Access Industries, Apollo Management and Ares Management.
Blavatnik also has interests in UC RUSAL, the world's largest aluminum producer, where he sits on the board, and Warner Music Group.
Mr. Blavatnik provides financial support and remains engaged in numerous educational pursuits. In addition to corporate directorships, Mr. Blavatnik sits on boards at Cambridge and Tel Aviv University, and he is a member of Harvard University's Committee on University Resources.
An active philanthropist, Mr. Blavatnik and the Blavatnik Family Foundation have been generous supporters of The National Gallery of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tate, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Prince's Trust and numerous other leading cultural and charity institutions. Mr. Blavatnik also sits on, inter alia, the board of directors of the 92nd Street Y in New York, The White Nights Foundation of America and The Center for Jewish History in New York. He is also a member of the Board of Governors of The New York Academy of Sciences, and a Trustee of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.
In 2007, Mr. Blavatnik created the New York Academy of Sciences Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists to acknowledge the excellence of the most noteworthy young scientists and engineers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
In 2010, Mr. Blavatnik committed Â£75 million to establish the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. The Blavatnik School of Government will train outstanding graduates from across the world in the skills and responsibilities of government. Mr. Blavatnik's gift is one of the most generous in Oxford University's 900-year history.
The Blavatnik Family Foundation is also the sponsor of the "Joseph R. Beyrle - A Hero of Two Nations" exhibit at the Russian Museum. The exhibit consists of 260 artifacts from the life and military career of Joseph Beyrle, an American soldier during World War II.
In Forbes' The World's Billionaire's List of 2010 he was listed in 93rd place with an estimated fortune of $7.5 billion.
- 10/05/10 -techcrunch.com