Business leaders

From Russian Immigrant to American Billionaire

Len Blavatnik

With an estimated fortune of $7.5 billion, Len Blavatnik ranked No. 74 on Forbes’ 2010 list of the world’s billionaires. Here is an inside look at how this 52-year-old self-made tycoon made it to the top as one of the world’s richest men

Len Blavatnik ranked No. 74 on Forbes’ 2010 list of the world’s billionaires with an estimated fortune of $7.5 billion. However, this 52-year old entrepreneur wasn’t always wealthy. Like many self-made billionaires, Blavatnik invested in a good education and worked hard to achieve his philanthropic legacy.

Leonard Blavatnik was born in 1957 in the Soviet Union. At 21 years old and penniless, he moved with his family to the United States where his journey began. Blavatnik attended and eventually received a master’s degree in computer science from Columbia University. In 1981, he became a U.S. citizen.Blavatnik  left Columbia and continued his education at Harvard Business School, where he earned his MBA.

In 1986, Len Blavatnik founded holding group Access Industries. Today, he is the current chairman of the privately-held industrial group and controls holdings in various industries and countries around the world. Len  Blavatnik and Access Industries have strategic investments in natural resources and chemicals, media and telecommunications, real estate, and emerging technology and retail industries.

According to the Access Industries website, the Access portfolio features a number of market-leading companies including LyondellBasell Industries (the world’s third-largest independent chemical company), TNK-BP (a vertically integrated oil company) and UC RUSAL (the largest vertically integrated aluminum producer in the world).

Blavatnik,  industrialist and active philanthropist, shares his wealth and gives back to the community. For example, last year the Blavatnik Family Foundation donated two gifts to Harvard University totaling $10 million. He is an ongoing supporter of various organizations including 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 many other leading cultural and charity institutions.

Len Blavatnik, American industrialist and billionaire, has an impressive portfolio. As founder and chairman of holding group Access Industries, Blavatnik boasts strategic investments around the world in various industries and market-leading companies. However, this 52-year-old self-made billionaire — worth an estimated $7.5 billion — is perhaps best known for his philanthropic efforts than his global, long-term holdings.

Len Blavatnik and the Blavatnik Family Foundation offer financial support to a wide range of educational pursuits. Just last year, the Blavatnik Family Foundation gave Harvard University two grants totaling $10 million. The year before, his foundation donated $5 million to Tel Aviv University in an effort to expand the computer science department.

On the Harvard donation, Blavatnik said in a press release, “I am proud to support Harvard University’s visionary activities in the realm of scientific and technological research.
“Harvard is consistently in the forefront of health and life science discoveries and I am very hopeful that these two significant grants by the Blavatnik Family Foundation will help to facilitate further breakthroughs benefiting all mankind”.

Mr.Blavatnik, U.S.  citizen, also supports numerous cultural and charity institutions including the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tate, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts and the Prince’s Trust.

Along with providing ongoing financial support to numerous institutions, Blavatnik,  Columbia University and Harvard University graduate, sits on various academic boards including at Cambridge University, Harvard Business School and Tel Aviv University. He also spends his time on the board of directors of the 92nd Street Y in New YorkFind Article, The White Nights Foundation of America and The Center for Jewish History in New York.

By Arun Submit

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