Petro Poroshenko
Петро Олексійович Порошенко
Official portrait of Petro Poroshenko.jpg
Poroshenko in 2014
5th President of Ukraine
In office
7 June 2014 – 20 May 2019
Prime MinisterArseniy Yatsenyuk
Volodymyr Groysman
Preceded byViktor Yanukovich
Oleksandr Turchynov (acting)
Succeeded byVolodymyr Zelensky
2nd Minister of Trade and Economic Development
In office
13 March 2011 – 4 December 2012
Prime MinisterMykola Azarov
Preceded byAndriy Klyuyev
Succeeded byIhor Prasolov
9th Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
9 October 2009 – 11 March 2010
Prime MinisterYulia Tymoshenko
Oleksandr Turchynov (acting)
Preceded byVolodymyr Khandohiy
Succeeded byKostyantyn Gryshchenko
4th Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council
In office
8 February 2005 – 8 September 2005
PresidentViktor Yushchenko
Preceded byVolodymyr Radchenko
Succeeded byAnatoliy Kinakh
People's Deputy of Ukraine
3rd convocation
In office
12 May 1998 – 14 May 2002
ConstituencyIndependent, Vinnytsia Oblast,
District No.12[1]
4th convocation
In office
14 May 2003 – 8 September 2006
ConstituencyOur Ukraine Bloc, Vinnytsia Oblast, District No.12[2][3]
5th convocation
In office
25 May 2006 – 15 June 2007
ConstituencyOur Ukraine Bloc, No.33[4]
7th convocation
In office
12 December 2012 – 3 June 2014
ConstituencyIndependent, Vinnytsia Oblast,
District No.12[5]
Personal details
Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko

(1965-09-26) 26 September 1965 (age 53)
Bolhrad, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Political partySDPU(O) (1998–2000)[6]
PSU/S (2000–2013)
PRVTSU/PR (2000–2001)
NU/NSNU (2005–2012)
NASTUP/BOS (2013–2014)
BPP/BPP-S (2014–present)
Spouse(s)Maryna Perevedentseva
ResidenceKozyn, Kiev Oblast
Alma materTaras Shevchenko National University
Salary~11,000, annual[7][8]
Net worthDecreaseUS$705 million (2019)[9]
Military service
Allegiance Soviet Union
Branch/serviceSoviet Army
Years of service1984–1986[10]

Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko (Ukrainian: Петро́ Олексі́йович Пороше́нко, pronounced [pɛˈtrɔ ɔlɛkˈsʲijɔwɪtʃ pɔrɔˈʃɛnkɔ]; born 26 September 1965[10]) is a Ukrainian businessman and politician who served as the fifth President of Ukraine from 2014 to 2019.

He served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2009 to 2010, and as the Minister of Trade and Economic Development in 2012. From 2007 until 2012, Poroshenko headed the Council of Ukraine's National Bank.

Outside government, Poroshenko has been a prominent Ukrainian oligarch[11] with a lucrative career in acquiring and building assets. His most recognized brands are Roshen, the large-scale confectionery company which has earned him the nickname of "Chocolate King",[11] and the TV channel 5 kanal, an all-news national TV broadcaster. Due to the scale of his business holdings in the manufacturing, agriculture and financial sectors, his political influence that included several stints at government prior to his presidency, and ownership of an influential mass-media outlet, Poroshenko has long been considered one of the prominent Ukrainian oligarchs even though not the most influential among them.

He was elected president on 25 May 2014, capturing 54.7% of the vote in the first round, thereby winning outright and avoiding a run-off. As a candidate for a second term in 2019, he obtained only 24.5% in the second round, being defeated by Volodymyr Zelensky.

Early life and education

Poroshenko's father, Oleksij Poroshenko [de; uk; ru], was an engineer and later government official who managed multiple factories during the Soviet rule in Ukraine. Little is known about his mother Yevguenia Serguéievna Grigorchuk (1937–2004) but a Ukrainian newspaper said she was an accountant, who taught at a vocational and technical school of accounting.[12] He also spent his childhood and youth in Bendery (Moldavian SSR, now under de facto control of the unrecognized breakaway state Transnistria),[13][14] where his father Oleksij was heading a machine building plant.[13]

In his youth, Poroshenko practiced judo and sambo, and was a Candidate for Master of Sport of the USSR.[15] Despite good grades he was not awarded the normal gold medal at graduation, and on his report card he was given a "C" for his behavior.[16] After getting into a fight with four Soviet Army cadets at the military commissariat, he was sent to army service in the distant Kazakh SSR.[16]

In 1989, Poroshenko graduated, having started studying in 1982, with a degree in economics from the international relations and law department (subsequently the Institute of International Relations) at the Kiev State University.[17] At this university he was friends with Mikheil Saakashvili who he in May 2015 would appoint as Governor of the Odessa Oblast (region) and who is a former President of Georgia.[18]

In 1984 Poroshenko married a medical student, Maryna Perevedentseva (born 1962).[15] Their first son, Oleksiy, was born in 1985 (his three other children were born in 2000 and 2001).[15]

From 1989 to 1992 Poroshenko was an assistant at the university's international economic relations department.[15] While still a student, he founded a legal advisory firm mediating the negotiation of contracts in foreign trade, and then he undertook the negotiations himself, starting to supply cocoa beans to the Soviet chocolate industry in 1991.[15] At the same time, he was deputy director of the 'Republic' Union of Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs, and the CEO "Exchange House Ukraine".[15]

Poroshenko's brother, Mykhailo, older by eight years, died in a 1997 car accident under mysterious circumstances.[19]

Business career

In 1993, Poroshenko, together with his father Oleksiy and colleagues from the Road Traffic Institute in Kiev, created the UkrPromInvest Ukrainian Industry and Investment Company, which specialized in the confectionery and automotive industries (as well as in other agricultural processing later on.)[15] Poroshenko was director-general of the company from its founding until 1998, when in connection with his entry into parliament he handed the title over to his father, while retaining the title of honorary president.[15]

Between 1996 and 1998, UkrPromInvest acquired control over several state-owned confectionery enterprises which were combined into the Roshen group in 1996, creating the largest confectionery manufacturing operation in Ukraine.[15] His business success in this industry earned him the nickname "Chocolate King".[20] Poroshenko's business empire also includes several car and bus factories, Kuznya na Rybalskomu shipyard, the 5 Kanal television channel,[21] as well as other businesses in Ukraine.

Although not the most prominent in the list of his business holdings, the assets that drew much recent media attention, and often controversy, are the confectionery factory in Lipetsk, Russia, that became controversial due to the Russian military intervention in Ukraine (2014–present), the Sevastopol Marine Plant (Sevmorzavod) that has been confiscated after the 2014 Russian forcible annexation of Crimea and the media outlet 5 kanal, particularly because of Poroshenko's repeated refusal to sell an influential media asset following his accession to presidency.

According to Poroshenko (and Rothschild Wealth Management & Trust) since becoming President of Ukraine he has relinquished the management of his businesses, ultimately (in January 2016) to a blind trust.[13][22]

Billionaires lists rankings

In March 2012, Forbes placed him on the Forbes list of billionaires at 1,153rd place, with $1 billion USD.[23] As of May 2015, Poroshenko's net worth was about $720 million USD (Bloomberg estimate), losing 25 percent of his wealth because of Russia's ban of Roshen products and the state of the Ukrainian economy.[24]

According to the annual ranking of the richest people in Ukraine[25] published by the Ukrainian journal Novoye Vremya and conducted jointly with Dragon Capital, a leading investment company in Ukraine, published in October 2015, president Poroshenko was found to be the only one from the top ten list whose asset value grew since the previous year's ranking. The estimate of his assets was set at $979 million USD, a 20% growth, and his ranking increased from 9th to 6th wealthiest person in Ukraine. The article noted that Poroshenko remained one of the only two European leaders who owned a business empire of such scale, with Silvio Berlusconi of Italy being the other.

A total of €450 million is kept in an Amsterdam-based company registered in Cyprus, as a result of which his effective tax rate is 5% rather than the statutory tax rate of 18% in Ukraine. The company is likely to be worth much more, as the annual accounts published by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce only contain the book value of the shares, which is very likely to be lower than the market value.[26] After his election, Poroshenko lost the billionaire status as his net worth dropped by 40% to reach $705 million.[27]

Associated businesses

A number of businesses were once part of the Ukrprominvest [uk] which Poroshenko headed in 1993–1998. The investment group was dissolved in April 2012.[28] Poroshenko has stated that upon beginning his political activity he passed on his holdings to a trust fund.[15]