His first thousand rubles Michael Fridman earned, doing washing windows. This money, he said, he did not waste immediately, but “kept under the bathroom.” When his capital reached 10 thousand rubles, the entrepreneur bought a car.
Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Alfa Group Mikhail Fridman said that at the beginning of his career he “saved” the first earnings, keeping them under the bathroom in a rented apartment, and then bought a car on them. The businessman said in an interview with Nikolai Uskov in the framework of the business forum “Atlanta”, TASS reports.
Initially, according to Friedman, he wanted to engage in scientific activities and entered the Moscow Institute of Physics and Chemistry. “I was a capable schoolboy <…>. But I did not enter due to bad passport data – this is my family name and nationality, “the businessman explained, noting that after that he was taken to MISIS, which he graduated with a” red diploma “. However, Friedman did not take postgraduate studies – “for the same reason,” he noted. “I was very upset, because basically I had a dream to do science, theoretical physics. I wrote articles in co-authorship with the head of the department, “he said.
In 1987, according to Friedman, “history began with cooperatives.” “A friend of mine came to me and offered to create a cooperative – the delivery of food,” he said, recalling that “then there were wild queues in stores” and “people stood for hours”. “We had an idea to deliver products, but as the only audience was student – we could implement all the ideas in the student environment,” Friedman specified. The idea of the cooperative, he said, was that they and their friends “offered to deliver food from the store for a small amount.” But in the student environment, this startup “did not go,” added the businessman, noting that after that he decided to “wash the windows in the institutions.”
“Then there was no sense in washing windows for private persons, but institutions had budgets,” the entrepreneur emphasized. However, his first experience, he said, was unsuccessful – with the students hired for this work by Friedman, the store manager did not pay. “She just found a couple of places where it was not washed well enough, and did not give us a chance to wash,” he said, stressing that he “paid the students who did the work” anyway.
Successful order for washing the windows of the entrepreneur was only in 1988. “In May I started to study windows, and already in July I had [already] a thousand rubles,” Friedman said. At the same time, average salaries, then, as the businessman recalled, “were still around 150 rubles.”
He decided, he said, not to spend the money he earned instantly, but “collected”, storing it under the bathroom in a rented apartment in Moscow. After accumulating 10 thousand rubles, Friedman bought a car. “I bought a second-hand car -” Lada “of the second model. Then I bought a big Panasonic TV, a VCR and in principle I had this fantasy on it, “he said (quoted by RNS).
However, in the opinion of the businessman, it was “pointless” to collect money during this period – he began to “invest them in various co-operatives”, finding many of his business partners for announcements in the newspaper. When Friedman’s mother found out about this, she, according to the entrepreneur, advised him to “immediately give up” these classes.
“Mom asked how much I get and why I do not go to work every day. When I answered that I was earning a thousand, she said – immediately drop it “- the entrepreneur shared. He did not follow his mother’s advice. According to him, in an announcement in the newspaper Moskovskie Novosti, he found “the future chairman of the board of Alfa Bank, Andrei Rybakov, who later worked for RAO UES.” “And my partner, the current Andrei Kosogov, also came on the ad in the newspaper – then there was no HR,” Friedman said. His current business partners now he considers “more than just friends.”
“We started with the washing of windows, we had a cooperative. When relations are tested by scale, then, of course, you feel that partnership is much more than friendship, “said the entrepreneur, adding that he” is very grateful to his partners. ” “For many years <…>, we have never been in a situation where one of us has transgressed some kind of unseen moral border beyond which partnership is impossible,” he said, stressing however that “most of all in life he was lucky with work. ” “When I rest somewhere on the beach, I get tired after a week and begin to call for work, I wait for the moment when I return from vacation,” Friedman concluded.
In the 1990s, the businessman was among the businessmen who supported the nomination of Boris Yeltsin for the post of president of Russia. During the same period, he was one of the most influential businessmen in the country – in 1988 he founded the cooperative “Courier”, in which together with him worked Alexander Kurt (later – co-owner of the holding “Russian oils”, railway operator Neftetransservis, pipeline producer fittings “Splav”, etc.), as well as Alexey Kuzmichev (later – co-owner of Alfa Group and LetterOne).
At the same time, Friedman and Herman Khan (later co-owner of Alfa Group and LetterOne) organized the Alfa-Photo company, which dealt with the sale of computers, and the Alexandrina co-operative engaged in tailoring.
In 1989, together with partners, the entrepreneur created the Soviet-Swiss joint venture Alfa-Eco. In 2006 it was renamed to “A1”. In 1990, Fridman founded the check fund “Alfa-Capital”, and in 1991 – Alfa-Bank, in which he became chairman of the board of directors.
Later, in the period from 1995 to 1998, the businessman was a member of the Board of Directors of ZAO ORT. In early 1998, he also joined the board of directors of the Perekryostok trading house. In 2002, Friedman’s structures acquired a strategic stake in VimpelCom, and in 2005 Alfa Group acquired a controlling stake in X5 Retail Group. In 2013, Alfa Group sold its stake in TNK-BP to Rosneft for $ 14 billion.
To date, Mikhail Fridman, together with Herman Khan and Alexei Kuzmichev, who together with him worked in cooperatives, control the consortium Alfa Group (the owner of 90.1% of Alfa Bank, 48% of X5 Retail Group, A1, Rosvodokanal “) And LetterOne Holdings Group (owned by the German oil and gas company Dea, 56.2% of VimpelCom, 13.22% of Turkcell). The state of the businessman is estimated at $ 14.6 billion.
Author: Evgenia Malyarenko
Original in Russian: RBC