Alexander Knaster

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Alexander Knaster
Born (1959-02-19) February 19, 1959 (age 64)
EducationBS Carnegie Mellon University
MBA Harvard Business School
OccupationInvestment manager
Known forFounder of Pamplona Capital Management
SpouseIrina Knaster

Alexander Knaster (born 19 February 1959) is a British businessman. A billionaire, he is founder of Pamplona Capital Management. He is documented to giving large donations to the Conservative Party in The United Kingdom.[2][3]


Knaster was born in Moscow in 1959 to a Jewish family of academics.[4] His father, Mark Knaster, who held several patents relating to metal coatings, batteries and solar cells, worked in a number of respected scientific institutions, including USC. His mother, Tatyana Knaster, is a civil engineer who taught at Pennsylvania Institute of Technology.[5][6]

Knaster immigrated to the United States at the age of 16 with his family.[4] He graduated with a B.S. electric engineering and mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University which he attended on a scholarship.[4] In 1980, he accepted a job as an engineer with Schlumberger working on their oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.[4]

After graduating in 1985 with an MBA from Harvard Business School and working at several investment banks, he returned to Russia in 1995 to work as CEO of the Russian branch of Credit Suisse First Boston.[4][7] He also earned a PhD in Economics from the Russian Academy of Science. In 1998, he resigned from CSFB and accepted an offer from Mikhail Fridman to become CEO at Alfa Bank.[4] He was very successful and due to his background in investment banking, Knaster established Pamplona Capital Management in 2004, in which the Alfa Group would invest some of its profit.[4] He chose the name Pamplona after the Pamplona San Fermín Festival which he attended after graduating from Harvard Business School.[4] His investor pool has since grown beyond Alfa. As of 2021, Pamplona managed $15 billion in assets.[8] Knaster also serves as Executive Fellow, London Business School, member of faculty at Department of Strategy and Entrepreneurship.[9]

In January 2021, he acquired a 75% stake of the Italian Serie B football club Pisa.[10]


Knaster is an active philanthropist, who has made significant contributions to different academic institutions, including Carnegie Mellon University and Harvard Business School, where he serves as a regional Campaign Leadership volunteer. In 1993, Knaster established the Alexander M. Knaster Scholarship Fund for undergraduates in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2011, in partnership with fellow alumnus Bruce McWilliams, Knaster helped to establish the Knaster-McWilliams scholarships, which allow for increased access to faculty and early research opportunities in addition to tuition assistance. The Alexander M. Knaster Professorship in Mathematical sciences is named in his honor.[11][12] He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of NYU[8]

Knaster along with Stan Polovets and three fellow Russian Jewish oligarchs, Mikhail Fridman, Pyotr Aven, and German Khan, founded the Genesis Philanthropy Group whose purpose is to develop and enhance Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews worldwide.[13][14] Knaster later served as chairman of the board for the Genesis Philanthropy Group.[15]

Knaster has also generously supported the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Dr. Maria I. New Children’s Hormone Foundation, which supports research, physician education, and the cost of care for children suffering from genetic hormonal disorders.[16][17][18]

In 2014 Knaster established The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research [1]. He has transferred the bulk of his assets to it and plans to develop it to become a leading global donor to early stage cancer research.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Knaster is married to Irina Knaster; they have four children.[20] He lives in New York City, New York.[20]


  1. ^ International Business Times, The 2015 Sunday Times Rich List: UK hedge fund billionaires almost double, April 24, 2015,
  2. ^ "UK-based Russians donating large sums to Tories". BBC News. 23 July 2014. Retrieved 2023-01-29.
  3. ^ "Russian Oligarchs' Top Banker Breaks Free After Making a Fortune Himself". Bloomberg. 22 July 2022. Retrieved 2023-01-29.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Russia Beyond the Headlines: "A Russian American invests in Europe" by Irina Mokrousova July 12, 2013
  5. ^ "Patent EP0171538A3 - Compositions and processes for coating ferrous surfaces with copper - Google Patents". Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  6. ^ "Mark B. Knaster - Profile - SAE International". 1986-02-01. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  7. ^ "Pamplona Capital Management > Alex Knaster". Archived from the original on 2014-07-21. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  8. ^ a b "Trustees.html".
  9. ^ "Pamplona Capital Management > Alex Knaster". Archived from the original on 2014-05-08. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  10. ^ "Serie B's Pisa is latest Italian club to move into foreign ownership". 25 January 2021.
  11. ^ "Campus News in Brief - The Tartan Online". Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  12. ^ "MCS Science Connection Magazine - Mellon College of Science - Carnegie Mellon University" (PDF).
  13. ^ New York Times: "Russians Join Israel to Start Jewish Prize of $1 Million" by David M. Herszenhorn June 26, 2012
  14. ^ Yad Vashem: "Ceremony Marking the Cooperation between Yad Vashem and the Genesis Philanthrophy Group" June 12, 2009
  15. ^ "Genesis Philanthropy group to promote Jewish identity in Russian-speaking children through summers at camp :: Genesis Philanthropy Group". Archived from the original on 2014-05-02. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  16. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-05-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ New, MI; Abraham, M; Gonzalez, B; Dumic, M; Razzaghy-Azar, M; Chitayat, D; Sun, L; Zaidi, M; Wilson, RC; Yuen, T (2013-01-28). "Genotype–phenotype correlation in 1,507 families with congenital adrenal hyperplasia owing to 21-hydroxylase deficiency". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110 (7): 2611–6. Bibcode:2013PNAS..110.2611N. doi:10.1073/pnas.1300057110. PMC 3574953. PMID 23359698.
  18. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  19. ^ Alexander Knaster, Forbes Profile, accessed May 14, 2015,
  20. ^ a b "Alexander Knaster". Forbes. 2011-03-29. Retrieved 2014-07-16.

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