CEO Spotlight

Profile – Roman Abramovich: An orphan boy who turned to be billionaire

Roman Abramovich lost his parents before the age of 4. Some close relatives undertook to raise the young boy, spending much of his youth in the Komi Republic in northern Russia. His parents were Jewish. Their original roots were from Lithuania. During the first Soviet occupation of Lithuania, the family was sent to Siberia, as victims of deportation.

His net worth is almost 19 billion dollars. It is worth paying attention in the life of Roman Abramovich as he managed to face all difficulties and turn them into success. Perhaps it is no coincidence when people say that difficulties break some men but make others.

He left school at 16 and first worked as a street-trader, and then as a mechanic at a local factory. At the peak of perestroika, Abramovich sold imported rubber ducks from his Moscow apartment. Abramovich attended the Gubkin Institute of Oil and Gas in Moscow, where he sold retreaded car tires as a side business, then traded commodities for Runicom, a Swiss trading company.

In 1988, as perestroika opened up opportunities for privatization in the Soviet Union, Abramovich seized the opportunity and slowly started to make business expanding to different sectors such as oil conglomerates and pig farms. He has also started trading products like sugar and food stuffs. In the early 1990s he had set up almost 20 companies in different sectors, as it was mentioned above. Abramovich during this period became the joint-owner of the Sibneft oil group.

The fact that he was close to the Kremlin, being one of the businessmen who were favored after the fall of the Soviet Union helped him a lot to emerge and get power at the business sector. He continued to be close to the political surrounding, having a good contact with Vladimir Putin, who is serving as the current President of Russia since 2012. The coming years were full of successful deals for Roman Abramovich.

In 2003 Abramovich bought Chelsea for 63 million dollars. On 1st July 2013, Chelsea celebrated ten years under Abramovich’s ownership. Two years later, he sold his oil company Sibneft to Gazprom for $13 billion. In 2001 he founded Millhouse Capital with headquarters in London. The total assets of the company are more than one billion dollars.

Maybe people don’t know that Abramovich is an art lover. He has funded photograph exhibitions, while in May 2008, Abramovich emerged as a major buyer in the international art auction market. He purchased Francis Bacon’s Triptych 1976 for €61.4 million and Lucian Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Sleeping for €23.9 million.

Abramovich is the owner of the second largest yacht in the world. Eclipse is more than 160 meters long and is believed to have cost Abramovich around US$400 million. The largest yacht in the world is Azzam with 180 meters long. The yacht includes at least two swimming pools, a cinema, two helicopter landing-pads and a submarine that can dive to a depth of 160 ft. Eclipse is also equipped with armour plating surrounding the bridge and Abramovich’s master suite, as well as bullet proof windows.

Abramovich also owns a private Boeing 767-33A/ER and a luxurious collection of super cars. Some of these cars are a Ferrari FXX prototype supercar, a Bugatti Veyron, an Aston Martin Vulcan, a Ferrari 488 GT3 and a Pagna Zonda R.

Abramovich purchased for $74 million a megamansion on New York’s Upper East Side. The megamansion is 19.000 square feet, and it is estimated that renovation costs were an additional $100 million amount of money. He also owns a 30 million dollars mansion in Cap d’ Antibes in the South of France.

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Maria Gourtsilidou
Maria Gourtsilidou is Senior Editor of Research and Data Analytics at the CEOWORLD magazine. She is responsible for driving thought leadership, using data analytics to showcase the company’s products and services, and fostering knowledge sharing between CEOWORLD magazine and client organizations. She studied Public Administration (Economics Of The Public Sector) in Greece and holds a Bachelor’s in Public Administration from the Panteion University of Political & Social Studies. Follow Maria Gourtsilidou on Twitter. Write at