Russian billionaire’s stellar rise to the top

AS THE SON of Soviet-era mill workers, Alexey Mordashov’s rise to become one of the richest men on the planet has been astronomical.

The steel baron in charge of Russia’s second largest steel producer and gold miner Severstal, in which he has a controlling share, rose from humble beginnings to become one of the world’s richest men.

In 2010 he was named the eighth richest man in Russia and 70th in the world by Forbes, with an estimated fortune of $9.9bn (£6.2bn).

Born in the northern Russian city of Cherepovets, the primary location of his Severstal steel empire, Mordashov began his career in 1988 as a planning economist in the steel mill where his parents worked.

He built up a personal stake in the firm after the plant’s elderly director instructed him to buy up shares to prevent it from falling into the hands of the outsider, and quickly rose to become the youngest chief financial officer in Severstal history in 1992.

After he was appointed chief executive in 1996, and chairman of the board of directors in 2002, Mordashov shook off Severstal’s Soviet shackles to grow it into an international conglomerate.

He acquired a string of firms, including Italian steel producer Lucchini in 2005 and several US steel mills, and made an expansion into gold mining.

Mordashov was educated at the Leningrad Institute of Economics and Engineering during the 1980s, completed an MBA distance-learning course from the Newcastle Business School in the late 1990s and has honorary doctorates from Saint Petersburg State University and the University of Northumbria.

As a philanthropist, the billionaire has used his personal wealth and his company to sponsor prominent Russian cultural institutions, including the Bolshoi Theatre, the Russian Museum and the Moscow International Film Festival.