Herman Gref

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Herman Gref
2019 German Gref.jpg
Chairman and CEO of Sberbank
Assumed office
November 2007
Preceded byAndrey Kazmin
Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Russian Federation
In office
18 May 2000 – 21 September 2007
Preceded byAndrei Shapovalyants
Succeeded byElvira Nabiullina
Personal details
Hermann Gräf

(1964-02-08) February 8, 1964 (age 57)
Panfilovo, Pavlodar oblast' Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union
Political partyNo affiliation
  • Yelena Gref
  • Yana Gref (2004–)
Alma materOmsk State University
Leningrad University

Hermann Gräf (Russian: Герман Оскарович Греф, romanizedGermann Oskarovič Gref, born February 8, 1964), better known as Herman Gref, is a Russian politician and businessman. He was the Minister of Economics and Trade of Russia from May 2000 to September 2007. He is the CEO and chairman of the executive board of Sberbank, the largest Russian bank.

Education and early career[edit]

Herman Gref was born in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic (now Kazakhstan) into a family of German deportees who were exiled there in 1941. After fulfilling two years of military service, he studied law at Omsk State University in Siberia from 1985 to 1990.

He then moved to Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) and taught law at Leningrad University until completing his post-graduate degree in 1993. In 1992 – 1998 Gref worked on several positions at the Saint Petersburg City Administration.

Work for the Russian government[edit]

In August 1998, Gref was appointed First Deputy Minister of State Property of the Russian Federation, and was a member of its board until 2000. He was also appointed to the board of the Federal Commission for the Securities Market of the Russian Federation and the board of state-owned Svyazinvest and Gazprom in 1999.

Gref was first appointed as Minister of the newly formed Ministry of Economic Development and Trade on May 18, 2000 and was reappointed to the position in the succeeding Cabinet in 2004.

Gref was a major advocate of Russia's joining the World Trade Organization.[1][2] He is also responsible for creation of the Stabilisation Fund.[3][4]

Gref was considered as one of the liberal reformers in Vladimir Putin's administration of the early and mid-2000s, besides Alexei Kudrin.

Work as CEO of Sberbank[edit]

In November 2007 Gref was elected as president of the state-owned savings bank Sberbank at an extraordinary general meeting.[5] Under Gref's leadership, the bank has undergone a number of radical changes aimed at improving its efficiency and corporate culture.[6][7]

Gref is member of boards and supervisory boards of a number of companies, including Yandex.[8]

In February 2019, Gref called upon Russians "to prepare for the very worst of situations" after the U.S. adopted new sanctions against Russia.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Gref married the designer Yana on May 1, 2004 in the throne room of Peterhof Palace.[10] His wife has a teenage son from a prior relationship, just as Gref has a son, Oleg, from his marriage with Yelena, who refused to move to Moscow when Gref was called into the government in 1998.[10][11] Since 2006 the couple has a daughter. Oleg studied jurisprudence in St. Petersburg until 2004 and moved to Germany for further education. Gref speaks German and is an admirer of Goethe and German Expressionism.[11]

In a November 2016 interview with Russian News Agency TASS, Gref admitted to speculating with Bitcoin.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Profile at the Moscow Times". themoscowtimes.com. Retrieved 4 March 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "'Russia's been 10 years late to WTO'". RT International. Retrieved 4 March 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "German Gref – Russiapedia Politics and society Prominent Russians". russiapedia.rt.com. Retrieved 4 March 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Pot Of Gold At End Of Stabilization Fund". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 4 March 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Catrina Stewart, "Sberbank Approves Gref as New Head", The Moscow Times, November 29, 2007.
  6. ^ Katya Golubkova, "NEWSMAKER-Super-fit CEO of Russia's Sberbank drives a lean machine", Reuters, March 15, 2012.
  7. ^ Dominic O’Neill, "Sberbank: Gref's great expectations", Euromoney.
  8. ^ Steve Gutterman, "Russia search engine Yandex nominates state bank CEO to board", Reuters, May 6, 2014.
  9. ^ Oliver Carroll (February 14, 2019). "Russians told to 'prepare for the worst' as US proposes new sanctions". The Independent.
  10. ^ a b "Herman Gref heiratet im Peterhofer Thronsaal", Russland Aktuell, 5 May 2004, accessed 6 August 2010
  11. ^ a b "Герман Греф" [Herman Gref]. Lenta.ru (in Russian). Retrieved February 3, 2018.
  12. ^ Алеев, Егор (November 18, 2016). "Греф рассказал, как конвертировал биткоины в реальную валюту: По словам главы Сбербанка, ему нравятся виртуальные валюты как игра, "но в этом будет скоро вся наша жизнь"" [Gref told how he converted bitcoins into real currency: According to the head of Sberbank, he likes virtual currency as a game, "but this will soon be our whole life"] (in Russian). Retrieved February 3, 2018.

External links[edit]