A New Boss for Kazakh SWF

Ashby Monk

Caveat Lector: A very jet-lagged brain is writing this post. Why bother? Because big news coming out of Kazakhstan inspired me to crack open my laptop. What could be that important?

A new Chief Executive Officer of Kazakhstan’s SWF Samruk-Kazyna has been named, and it is the billionaire oil and banking mogul Timur Askarovich Kulibayev. It gives you a sense for how important the Kazakh SWF is in President Nazarbayev’s development plans that he would place his country’s top business ace in charge of the fund. Granted, most news reports on the appointment seem to be zeroing in on another factor that might have influenced the appointment: Kulibayev also happens to be the President’s son-in-law:

“The son-in-law of Kazakhstan’s president has been named head of the oil-rich Central Asian nation’s $80 billion national wealth fund, a move that underscores the ruling family’s growing influence over big business.”
Fair enough. There’s clearly some potential for nepotism here. But since I know next to nothing about Kazakhstan’s internal politics (and I’ll be meeting quite a few Kazakh delegates tomorrow), I’ll  completely defer judgement on this issue to others.
Still, Kulibayev is quite a remarkable guy. Forbes called him the “dominating force in the country’s oil business” and pegs his net worth at nearly $1.3 billion. Just have a look at some highlights from the official bio (which I edited down a bit due to its sheer length):
  • He is a graduate in physics and mathematics.
  • He has a degree in “National Economy Planning”.
  • He has a Ph.D. in Economics.
  • He has a number of research publications.
  • He speaks fluent Kazakh, Russian and English.
  • He was the director of a Research and Consultative Center.
  • Yadda yadda yadda.
  • He headed the concern “Altyn-Alma.”
  • He was the Chairman of the Board of Almaty Bank.
  • He was head of the Directorate for Project Assessment and Negotiating.
  • He was a Vice-President at “Kazkhoil”.
  • He was President “KazTransOil”.
  • He was the General Director of “Oil and Gas Transportation”.
  • He was the First Vice-President of “KazMunayGas”.
  • Yadda yadda yadda.
  • He was Deputy Chairman of “National Welfare Fund “Samruk-Kazyna”.
  • And, now, he has the top job at Samruk-Kazyna.
It’s a solid list of accomplishments. Clearly, the Kazakh SWF will be in very capable hands. Equally important to Kazakh citizens, the national cycling team will also be in good hands.
In case you missed it, the team that won the Tour de France for the past two years was sponsored by the Kazakh SWF. This has been a huge source of pride for the people of Kazakhstan. And, apparently, Kulibayev is a big sports nut. He’s a member of the Executive Committee of the National Olympic Council and President of the Kazakhstan Boxing Federation. So you can expect Astana to continue on as a serious contender at the Tour de France, which will be good for the event (even if I think Contador’s dominance is suspect).

3 Responses to “A New Boss for Kazakh SWF”


  1. 1 sad guest April 18, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    This just in, heir apparent to the crown of an oil potentate has many accomplishments to his name. I wonder, did Mr, or I suppose its Dr. Kulibaiev share a study nook at the LSE with Dr. Qadafi?


  1. 1 The Daily Brief « Oxford SWF Project Trackback on December 22, 2011 at 9:29 am

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This website is a project of Professor Gordon L. Clark and Dr. Ashby Monk of the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. Their research on sovereign wealth funds is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and The Rotman International Centre for Pension Management.

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