Saturday, November 5, 2011

Roustam Tariko

Roustam Tariko (born March 17, 1962) is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Russian history. He is of Tatar descent.

Tariko is the founder of Russian Standard Vodka, the leading premium vodka in Russia. He also founded Russian Standard Bank, a pioneer in Russian consumer credit market and one of the top credit and term life insurers in Russia. In contrast to many other Russian businessmen, Tariko is a self-made man, having built his empire from scratch. In 2009, Tariko's net worth was estimated at $1.1 billion.

Born in the town of Menzelinsk in Tatarstan on March 17, 1962, Tariko moved to Moscow to study at the age of 17. He graduated in 1989 from the Economics faculty of Moscow Institute for Railway Engineering and got an MBA from INSEAD in France in 2000.

The economic reforms of the 1980s created new business opportunities, which Tariko recognized and took advantage of. Unlike many other Russian businessmen who created their empires through the privatization of state enterprises in the early 1990s, Tariko built his company from scratch.

While studying, Tariko had had a part-time job as a street cleaner. He says he had to get up early and clear the snow even if it was −20C. Already at this point, Tariko had an eye for making money: Tariko's first business was a small cleaning company he established with two friends.

Tariko's first major business was a hotel room brokering service, which served foreign customers at Russia's largest hostel. He charged a premium on those rooms which he had renovated at his expense.

In the late 1980s, Tariko began importing Kinder Surprise and Ferrero Rocher chocolates to the Soviet Union and selling them for rubles. Previously, such goods were only available in hard currency stores closed to average Russians. Tariko parlayed his success in selling Italian chocolates into an exclusive contract to import the Martini brand. Record sales of Martini enabled him to grow his company Roust Inc. into the leading importer of premium spirits in Russia.

The venture was a success, and in 1992 Tariko founded Roust Inc., a company which became one of the largest premium product distribution companies in Russia.

Tariko completed his MBA at INSEAD in France in 2000.

Building on his success, Tariko wanted to build a Russian consumer brand which would "embody the vibrant spirit of Russia." Tariko reportedly wondered why Russia, the birthplace of vodka and the biggest vodka market in the world did not possess a domestically produced premium vodka brand. In 1998, Tariko, through his Russian Standard Company, brought to market Russian Standard Vodka Original, the first genuinely Russian premium vodka. It became an almost instant success, and quickly established itself as the number one brand of its kind in the country.

In 1999, Tariko expanded his empire into the banking business by founding Russian Standard Bank. Today, the bank is the market leader in consumer finance and the country's largest consumer lending bank.

In total, the companies belonging to Tariko's holding company Russian Standard Corporation now employ over 25,000 people.

In Forbes magazine's "World's Richest People" ranking of 2009, Tariko was listed at number 647 with an estimated wealth of $1.1 billion.

Tariko is also the owner of the Miss Russia Pageant.

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