Bulat Utemuratov is a leading Kazakhstani businessman and philanthropist. He is the key investor in the projects managed by Verny Capital investment group and oversees the activities of his charitable foundation. He is also President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation and Vice President of the International Tennis Federation.
Bulat Utemuratov, an Economics graduate, began his career against the backdrop of a difficult economic environment, which faced problems ranging from the unavailability of hard currency and the absence of a proper banking system to declining industry, as well as lack of legislative and new cadre base. At the time, he was rapidly moving up the career ladder, from lecturer at his alma mater to department head at the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations. A pivotal point in his career came with the government opening the Kazakhstan Trading House in Austria.
In 1995, Bulat Utemuratov, jointly with a group of partners, set up Almatinsky Trade and Finance Bank CJSC, one of the first banks in the newly independent country. It grew into a strong multi-product inter-regional group and, in 2007, was sold to the Italian group UniCredit for US$ 2.2 billion, at the time the biggest transaction in the CIS’s banking sector.
The entrepreneur used the proceeds from the sale to develop his asset portfolio, becoming the key financier in projects under the management of Verny Capital company, an outfit specialising in direct investment. The group’s portfolio of projects includes assets that work in the sectors of transport and logistics, real estate, hospitality, telecommunications, finance, and natural resources.
All Verny Capital’s projects are undertaken with international partners are distinguished by transparency and high standards of corporate management.
As head of the Trading House, the 34-year-old had a unique to build a network in Europe and develop trade and economic relations with Austria. In 1996, following the successful posting in Austria, Mr Utemuratov received a new appointment, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Switzerland.
Bulat Utemuratov’s diplomatic experience was a tremendous asset during two crises in the 2000s. In November 2004, then-President Nursultan Nazarbayev set up the National Commission for Democracy and Civil Society, which Mr Utemuratov headed, to help foster dialogue between the government and the opposition, and to promote democratic processes in the country.
A dedicated philanthropist, Mr Utemuratov carefully studied international best practices for providing assistance and implementing systemic solutions. In 2014, he established the Bulat Utemuratov Foundation and is personally involved in its activities covering healthcare, education, disaster relief, sport, culture and urban development.