Mikhail Prokhorov (born May 3, 1965) is a Russian self-made billionaire and oligarch. He made his name in the financial sector and went on to become one of Russia’s leading industrialists in the precious metals sector. He is the former chairman of Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium, and the current chairman of Polyus Gold, Russia’s largest gold producer.

In May 2007, Prokohorov launched a $17 billion private investment fund, Onexim Group, focused on the development of nanotechnology, including hydrogen fuel cells, as well as other high-technology projects and non-ferrous and precious metals mining. One of the key areas of development is the production of materials with ultra–tiny structures used in energy generation and medicine.

In June 2007, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov announced the formation of the Government Council for Nanotechnology, to oversee the development of nanotechnology in the country. Prokhorov was one of 15 individuals appointed to the council, which will be chaired by Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov.

Mikhail Prokhorov’s net worth is currently estimated at $19.5 billion, making him the 24th richest man in the world according to Forbes magazine’s list of the World’s Richest People in 2008. Since then it has been estimated that the majority of his fortune was lost to the recent economic downturn. However, Prokhorov is currently the richest man in Russia and the 40th richest man in the world according to the 2009 Forbes list with an estimated fortune of $9.5 billion . If he lost 51% of his wealth within a year, he is the Russian oligarch who resisted the best to the financial crisis thanks to his sell of his Norilsk stake right before the meltdown. Most spectacularly, he had reportedly agreed to buy a villa in French Riviera from Brazilian philantropist Lily Safra for €400m but is in danger of losing a €39m deposit as he’s unable to afford to complete of the deal.

Early Life and Education

Mikhail Prokhorov was born on May 3, 1965, one of two children in the family. His father was a member of the Soviet sports committee and his mother was a scientist. His parents sent him to a language medium school in Moscow and then to the Moscow Financial Institute. In 1989, he graduated with a first class degree from the International Economic Relations Department of Moscow State Financial Institute. He also has an older sister named Irina.

In March 2004 he founded the Cultural Initiatives Foundation (The Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation), a charitable foundation; it is headed by Prokhorov’s elder sister Irina Prokhorova, prominent Russian publisher. He gives financial support to CSKA Moscow‘s basketball, hockey and football clubs, and is a member of the Supreme Council of the Sport Russia organisation.

In August 2006 he was awarded the Order of Friendship for his significant contribution to the growth of Russia’s economic potential, when the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, signed an order for the granting of state honours on August 18, 2006.


Mikhail Prokhorov.



With global populations growing at a rapid rate, energy security is one of the greatest issues facing the world today. The future will rely on traditional forms of energy as well as “new” sources, such as wind, solar and hydrogen power.

Fuel Cells

In Russia today there is an understanding that our resources are not infinite. There is also a growing realization we need to redouble our focus and investment in new technology in order to address current environmental challenges.

On Charity

Pure charity – helping those who are in a difficult situation, who seek care and protectorship – is a natural human need to do good. A successful businessman can prove himself in this activity as someone who has more power to help people.

The Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation is a Russian private charity established in 2004. It carries out nationwide and international activities, as well as local projects in the Krasnoyarsk region, the Urals, Siberia, the Russian Far East, and in the industrial area of Norilsk.

The long-term goal is to promote Russian culture and further its integration into global context. The Foundation’s concept is based on a broader notion of culture, its borders, and its social functions. This modern idea of culture determines the key activities of the Foundation, which include: initiatives in arts;science and education; development of mass media; urban environment; sports and public health.

The Foundation’s activities are based on the belief that a better life of the society is conditional upon its cultural level. Geographically, the Foundation tries to localise its activities to reflect the uniqueness and specific needs of communities concerned. This approach is especially valuable in today’s globalised world.

 Brief History of the Foundation

From 2004 till 2006, the Foundation operated exclusively in Norilsk and thus became the first charity in Russia to work systematically with one specific region.
Later it expanded it scope to include the whole of Krasnoyarsk Krai, the biggest Siberian region.
Since 2008, several competition projects have embraced the Urals, Siberia, and the Russian Far East.
Simultaneously, the Foundation supports unique nationwide and international projects aiming to incorporate Russian culture into the global context.

Its 2007 Annual Report was named the best report in the private foundations category of the 2nd Point of Reference competition sponsored by the Russian Public Chamber’s Commission for Development of Charity and NGO Legislation.

The Innovation Breakthrough

Mikhail Prokhorov’s speech during the 4th Annual National Business Congress 2 July 2008 on how to make the innovation breakthrough happen



Lily Safra was born in 1938 in Porto Alegre, Brazil to a Czech father.Lily Safra is a Brazilian philanthropist and social figure. Born to an affluent family, she attained considerable wealth.


In 1976, she married Edmond Safra, a Brazilian-naturalized Jewish syrian banker. Their international lifestyle included homes in New York, London, Geneva and the French Riviera. The couple never had any children.

In 1999, Edmond Safra, a sufferer of Parkinson’s disease, perished from a criminal fire at their apartment in Monaco. Lily Safra survived, as she was saved from the fire by the police. An American nurse, Ted Maher, was arrested under suspicion of starting the fire, and was convicted of the crime in 2002. He claimed that he had started the fire to carry out a daring rescue, in order to increase his standing in the Safra family’s eyes, but that he lost control of the fire. The details of Mr Safra’s passing were discussed by media outlets including 60 Minutes and by Dominick Dunne in Vanity Fair; the incident also served as a basis for an episode of Law & Order.


Edmond & Lily Sasfra Childrens Hospital

Edmond & Lily Safra Children’s Hospital

Mrs Safra is the Chairwoman of the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation, which supports projects related to education, science and medicine, religion, culture, and humanitarian relief. Mrs. Safra shared her commitment to caring for the less fortunate with her husband, Mr. Edmond J. Safra, one of the twentieth century’s most accomplished bankers and founder of the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation. Since 1999 she has chaired this Foundation, which supports hundreds of projects over 50 countries. She has initiated many educational projects in memory of her husband, including endowing the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. A long and distinguished relationship with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem led to the naming of the Edmond J. Safra Campus.

Mrs. Safra is Honorary Chairman of the International Sephardic Education Foundation (ISEF), which she established with her husband in 1977. ISEF is the largest non-profit organization promoting higher education for gifted Israelis from disadvantaged backgrounds. Since its founding, over 16,000 scholarships have been granted, including support for more than 1,000 MA and PhD students. She also supports the Lily Safra Internship Program at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. The internship program takes place during the summer and allows six undergraduate and two graduate students to carry out research at the HBI.

Both personally and through the Foundation, she supports research into cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and neurodegenerative diseases,particularly Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, at hospitals and universities worldwide. Her awareness of the distress experienced by the families of those battling illnesses led her to construct the Family Lodge for patients and their families at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. She and her husband built a cutting-edge children’s hospital in Tel Hashomer, outside of Tel Aviv, which treats thousands of Israeli and Palestinian children. She is a member of the Board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

In addition to being a Trustee of New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Somerset House Arts Fund in London, Mrs. Safra is a member of the Chairman’s Council of the Museum of Modern Art and the Kennedy Center’s International Committee on the Arts. She supported the joint acquisition of Bill Viola’s “Five Angels of the Millennium” by the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Whitney Museum in New York, and established the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Professorship at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. She is also significantly involved with the activities of London’s Courtauld Institute of Art, supporting curators and providing scholarships to outstanding art history students, in addition to having underwritten acclaimed exhibitions in the Institute’s Hermitage Rooms.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Mrs. Safra was a lead supporter of the American Red Cross’s relief effort, and she was instrumental in helping Dillard University of New Orleans continue to offer classes in temporary locations and to rebuild for the Fall 2006 semester. For many years she has assisted numerous New York City community organizations,chiefly Henry Street Settlement, the New York Center for Children, the Children’s Health Fund, and God’s Love We Deliver.


Lily Safra holds honorary doctorates from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Brandeis University, Tel Aviv University, and Imperial College London, and she is an Honorary Fellow of King’s College London and the Courtauld Institute of Art. The French Government accorded her the rank of Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2004, and she was named Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur by President Jacques Chirac in 2005.

Visit : The Israel Museum, Jerusalem at : http://www.imj.org.il/