STEEL magnate Vladimir Lisin, the chairman of miner and steel producer Novolipetsk Steel (NLMK), has topped a list of Russia’s richest citizens with a personal wealth of $18.8bn (£12bn) – almost half the fortune of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
53-year-old Lisin, who has been at the helm of NLMK since 1998, came out at the head of a list published by Finans business magazine. He was last year ranked 93rd on the benchmark Forbes world rich list with $5.2bn.
Lisin is a rare example of a career steel man becoming a king in Russia’s fragmented steel industry, which is mostly run by financiers after chaotic sell-offs in the 1990s.
A graduate of a Siberian steel institute and a senior steel plant manager in the late 1980s, he then joined TransWorldGroup (TWG), a metals trading giant with links to the political elite in President Boris Yeltsin’s Russia, as a junior partner.
In the 1990s, he set himself to acquiring one of the country’s most modern steel plants in Lipetsk, fighting another round of battles – including buying out a stake from US financier George Soros – to gain control over the firm, now known as NLMK.
Lisin is also known for his extra-curricular passions for hunting and fine Cuban cigars. Married with three children, he also built one of Russia’s biggest clay pigeon shooting centres.