Blavatnik may reprise WMG role

Marion Dakers
RUSSIAN-BILLIONAIRE Len Blavatnik resigned from his directorship at Warner Music Group in January 2008, blaming his “extensive travel schedule” for his retirement from front-line duties.

But three years later, his plan to take his finger off the pause button at WMG has little to do with a quieter work schedule.

Blavatnik, as a member of Russian investment group AAR, is currently waging an international spat against oil major BP over its attempts to explore the Arctic oil fields with Rosneft.

If BP, AAR and their joint venture TNK-BP cannot reach an agreement by March, Blavatnik can expect a trip to Sweden to take part in arbitration.

The Russian-born US citizen is also embroiled in a US lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase, his long-time banking partner, over the bank’s alleged misrepresentation of mortgage-backed securities that he claims lost him $98m (£60.3m) in 2007.

Blavatnik still holds a minority stake in WMG, and has plenty of other media experience. He came close to bailing out struggling sports broadcaster Setanta in 2009 but later pulled out, sending the firm into administration.

Away from his tangled business portfolio, Blavatnik finds the time to sit on the boards of Cambridge, Harvard (where he gained an MBA) and Tel Aviv universities.