Friday, February 10, 2012

Andris Bērziņš

Andris Bērziņš (born 10 December 1944) is a Latvian businessman and politician. He is the President of Latvia, having won the presidential election held on 2 June 2011.

From 1993 to 2004, Bērziņš was the President of Unibanka.

Early Career
Andris Bērziņš was born 10 December 1944 in Nītaure, Latvian SSR, Soviet Union. In 1958 he completed studies at a Nītaure primary school, and attended the 1st middle school of Sigulda from 1958 to 1962. He then began studying at the Riga Polytechnical Institute, which he graduated in 1971, and became a radio engineer at the "Elektrons" factory. He worked his way up to director and in 1988 was appointed deputy minister of municipal services of the Latvian SSR. He also studied at the Economic Faculty of the Latvian State University, which he graduated in 1988.

In 1989 Bērziņš was elected to the Valmiera district Council (Soviet) of People's Deputies and was appointed chairman of the district's executive commission. In 1990 he was elected to the Supreme Council of the Latvian SSR, representing Valmiera. He joined the Latvian Popular Front faction in the Supreme Council. On 4 May 1990 he voted in favor of the declaration that restored the independence of the Republic of Latvia.

After the completion of his term as deputy in 1993, Bērziņš became chairman of the Privatization Fund of the Bank of Latvia. He also became president of Latvijas Unibanka (a joint-stock company; 1993–2004). Bērziņš became a successful businessman and his estate exceeded 1 000 000 lats (by the mid 2000s). He also owned 30 various land properties. Bērziņš worked as an advisor to the president of SEB and was a board member of several joint-stock companies, including Valmiera stikla šķiedra (Valmiera fiberglass) and Lode.

Personal Life
Andris Bērziņš is married to Dace Seisuma. Apart from his native language, he speaks fluently in English, German and Russian.

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