Russian Oligarchs

Rustem Sulteev: TAIF Group Leader and Billionaire Tycoon

Early Years

Life of Rustem Sulteev
The Life of Rustem Sulteev

Rustem Nurgasimovich Sulteev was born on January 4, 1954, in Kazan, USSR, into a family in Tatarstan. Sulteev’s intellectual abilities were evident from a young age. After completing his high school education, he pursued a bachelor’s degree in economics at the Kazan Civil Engineering Institute.

Professional Path

In 1976, Rustem embarked on his professional journey as a master builder at the Kazan construction company (SMU-4), where he dedicated seven years of his career.

In 1983, he shifted gears, joining a repair and installation plant under the management of the bread industry in Tatarstan. Within a year, his diligence and communication skills propelled him to the position of deputy director at Kazan Bakery No.2.

TAIF Holding Emergence

Rustem Sulteev’s trajectory gained momentum when he became deputy head of Centrogaz in 1985, and later, in 1987, assumed a similar role at NPO Kazan. His meeting with Albert Shigabutdinov during his tenure at NPO Kazan marked the beginning of a lasting partnership.

In 1995, Tatar-American Investments and Finance JSC was established on the basis of an NGO where Sulteev worked, with him becoming deputy general director. This marked a crucial point in the collaboration between Sulteev and Shigabutdinov, eventually leading to the formation of the TAIF Group.

Rise in Petrochemical Industry

Board of Directors Roles

By 2003, Rustem Sulteev joined the board of directors of Neftekhim, a key player in the Russian synthetic rubber market. Subsequently, in 2005, he assumed a similar role at OJSC Kazanorgsintez, contributing not only as a board member but also overseeing audits and bonus determinations.

TAIF Shareholder

With a 19.9% ownership stake in TAIF, Sulteev’s influence extended across the TAIF group, which encompassed Kazanorgsintez, Nizhnekamskneftekhim, TAIF-NK, and investments in energy and construction in Tatarstan.

Leadership at TAIF

In 2006, Sulteev fortified his position within TAIF by joining its board of directors. This marked an active involvement in shaping the economic strategy of Nizhnekamskneftekhim (NKNK), bringing it under close scrutiny by TAIF Group.

Role at Orgsintez

In 2007, Sulteev expanded his responsibilities to include personnel policy management at Orgsintez, showcasing his versatility and leadership acumen.

Key Milestones in Rustem Sulteev’s Career

YearMilestone
1954Born on January 4 in Kazan, USSR
1976Joined repair and installation plants in the bread industry, Tatarstan
1983Joined the board of directors at TAIF, solidifying the position at TAIF Group
1984Promoted to deputy director at Kazan Bakery No.2
1985Became deputy head of Centrogaz
1987Assumed a similar role at NPO Kazan
1995Tatar-American Investments and Finance JSC established, Sulteev becomes deputy general director
2003Joined the board of directors of Neftekhim
2005Joined the board of directors of OJSC Kazanorgsintez
2006Joined the board of directors at TAIF, solidifying position in TAIF Group
2007Expanded responsibilities to include personnel policy management at Orgsintez

Billionaire Status and Wealth Fluctuations

TAIF Group Holder Rustem Sulteev
TAIF Group Holder Rustem Sulteev

Path to Billionaire

Rustem Sulteev achieved billionaire status in 2013, primarily due to his substantial holdings in the TAIF Group. His net worth, as per Forbes rankings, has witnessed fluctuations over the years, reflecting the dynamic nature of his business ventures.

Forbes Rankings: (2011-2020)

YearRevenue (in billion dollars)Global Ranking
2011$0.55171st
2012$0.85114th
2013$1.1596th
2014$1.1101st
2015$1.181st
2016$0.65131st
2017$195th
2018$1.196th
2019$1.285th
2020$198th

Personal Life and Family

Lydia Sulteeva
Sulteev’s wife Lydia Sulteeva

Lydia Sulteeva is the wife of co-owner and chairman of the board Taif Rustem Sulteev. The couple is happily married and they have two children.

Timur Sulteev

Timur, Sulteev’s eldest son, born in 1983, has followed in his father’s footsteps, actively engaging in business within TAIF. Starting his career in the foreign trade department, Timur progressed to roles such as commercial director at OJSC Kazanorgsintez.

Association of Sports

A dedicated sports fan, Rustem Sulteev financially supports various sports teams, including the Rubin football club, the Sintez water polo team, and the Neftekhimik hockey team. Together with Shigabutdinov, he co-founded the sports organization “STK TAIF Motorsport,” where Timur actively participates in auto racing.

Awards and Recognition

Rustem Sulteev has received numerous awards for his significant contributions to the development of the region and the country, bestowed by both Tatarstan and federal authorities.

Rustem Sulteev and Sanctions

Sanctions Imposition

While Rustem Sulteev has not been in the news frequently, he did come under sanctions imposed by the US Treasury against Russian businessmen, showcasing the complexities and challenges faced by individuals operating in a global economic context.

Inclusion of Rustem Sulteyev in the “Kremlin Report”

Overview

The First Deputy General Director of TAIF PSC, Rustem Sulteev, has been identified in the “Kremlin report” compiled by the American Ministry of Finance. The report, shared with American senators, aimed to highlight individuals with connections to the Kremlin, encompassing officials, heads of state-owned companies, and entrepreneurs.

Listed Individuals

The report encompasses a total of 114 officials and heads of state-owned companies, including prominent figures like Alexey Miller and Igor Sechin of Gazprom and Rosneft, respectively. Moreover, 96 entrepreneurs are featured, among them Alisher Usmanov, Roman Abramovich, Suleiman Kerimov, Evgeny Kaspersky, Pyotr Aven, and Vladimir Potanin.

Classification and Clarification

Part of the document has been classified, indicating a selective sharing of information. Official representatives from the US Treasury emphasized that inclusion in the “Kremlin report” did not automatically result in the imposition of sanctions against the individuals mentioned. The report serves as a compilation rather than a conclusive basis for punitive measures.

Insights into TAIF Group’s History and Growth

TAIF Group
TAIF Group

Introduction

Kazan, the TAIF Group stands as a symbol of economic prowess, intertwined with political connections that have played a pivotal role in its rise. With a shiny black Mercedes S-Class cutting through the city’s turns, the head and co-owner of TAIF, Albert Shigabutdinov, navigates the complex landscape of Russian business and politics.

TAIF Group

TAIF, the second-largest non-public company in Russia according to Forbes, boasts an annual revenue of 292 billion rubles. As a cornerstone of Tatarstan’s economy, it encompasses chemical plants, the sole oil refinery in the republic, a network of gas stations, commercial real estate, and television channels. Holding a significant share of Tatarstan’s Gross Regional Product (GRP), TAIF’s enterprises have seen a remarkable doubling of turnover in the past three years.

The Origins of TAIF

The roots of TAIF trace back to the challenging times of the Soviet Union. Established in 1990 as the Kazan Foreign Trade Association, TAIF evolved from the scarcity of the goods era, transitioning to a pivotal investment company. Albert Shigabutdinov, a key figure in TAIF, embarked on a diverse career path, showcasing organizational skills honed in construction teams and state farms.

TAIF’s Evolution in the Post-Soviet Era

As privatization swept through Russia in the mid-1990s, TAIF transformed from a state-owned entity into a private powerhouse. The government of Tatarstan created the investment company Tatar-American Investments and Finance (TAIF) in 1995, setting the stage for the privatization of major enterprises in the republic. With the infusion of capital and strategic moves, TAIF rapidly expanded its influence.

Investments

TAIF’s investment strategy encompassed diverse areas, from stock market operations and trading to large-scale projects within the republic. The group’s foray into cellular communications and subsequent sale of TAIF-Telcom to MTS for $120 million showcased its adaptability and financial acumen. The involvement of Radik Shaimiev, son of the President of Tatarstan, as a shareholder and board member, added a layer of political influence to TAIF’s trajectory.

Rustem’s Role: A Key Player in TAIF’s Privatization

Key Player in TAIF
Key Player in TAIF

Rustem Sulteev, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of TAIF, played a pivotal role in the privatization process. Collaborating with Albert Shigabutdinov since the early days of Kazan, Sulteev contributed to shaping TAIF’s trajectory. However, the specifics of Sulteev’s involvement and the extent of his influence remain veiled in the official narrative.

TAIF’s Link to Political Power

The integration of the Shaimiev family, particularly Radik Shaimiev, into TAIF’s leadership added a unique dynamic. Radik’s role as a significant shareholder and chief adviser to the general director strengthened the connection between political power and economic influence within TAIF. The family’s influence extends beyond business, with ties to enterprises like NIRA-Export.

Economic Prosperity and Challenges

TAIF’s meteoric rise was not without risk. Fueled by massive borrowing, the group faced high debt loads, especially evident in subsidiaries like Kazanorgsintez. The economic downturn, compounded by market fluctuations, led to defaults and restructuring efforts, with Western and Russian banks negotiating terms. The high-debt gamble that fueled TAIF’s economic miracle also posed challenges during times of crisis.

Future Outlook

As Tatarstan faces potential political transitions, questions arise about TAIF’s future. With Mintimer Shaimiev’s extended term coming to an end, uncertainties loom over the group’s continued patronage. Albert Shigabutdinov expresses confidence in the continuity of economic and political foundations, but the landscape may evolve with potential changes in regional leadership.

Conclusion

Rustem Nurgasimovich Sulteev‘s biography is a testament to his multifaceted journey—from a master builder in construction to a billionaire businessman influencing Russia’s petrochemical landscape. His leadership at TAIF, strategic investments, and commitment to sports and regional development underscore a life marked by achievements, challenges, and a dedication to both business and community. As he continues to navigate the complexities of the business world and global sanctions, Rustem Sulteev‘s story remains one of intrigue and impact.

Alexander Harris

Alexander Harris began his career as a journalist. He is one of the founders of the " Russian Oligarchs Tracker Unit ".

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