Len Blavatnik: American Industrialist and Philanthropist

Len Blavatnik is a major American industrialist with global interests in four sectors: natural resources and chemicals, media and telecommunications, technology and e-commerce, and real estate. He is the founder and Chairman of Access Industries, a privately held industrial group through which he controls his holdings. Incorporated in 1986, Access Industries has strategic investments in the United States, Europe and South America.

Mr. Blavatnik, a U.S. citizen, was raised in Russia and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1978, becoming a citizen in 1984. He received his Master’s degree from Columbia University and his MBA from Harvard Business School.

Among its other investments, Access owns a significant stake in LyondellBasell Industries (the world’s third-largest independent chemical company with major production facilities in Europe and the United States) and Warner Music Group (one of the world’s leading music companies). Mr. Blavatnik is a member of the Warner Music Group board.

Mr. Blavatnik is also engaged in numerous educational pursuits, sitting on the board of Tel Aviv University, and serving as a member of Harvard University’s Committee on University Resources.

An active philanthropist, Mr. Blavatnik and the Blavatnik Family Foundation have been generous supporters of numerous leading cultural and charity institutions including The National Gallery of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tate, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts and the Prince’s Trust. He is a member of the Board of Governors of The New York Academy of Sciences, and a Trustee of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.In 2007, Mr. Blavatnik created the New York Academy of Sciences Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists to acknowledge the excellence of the most noteworthy young scientists and engineers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. In 2013, the Blavatnik Family Foundation expanded to a national level the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists program commencing in 2014.

In 2010, Mr. Blavatnik committed £75 million to establish the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. The Blavatnik School of Government, which admitted its first class of students in the fall of 2012, trains outstanding graduates from across the world in the skills and responsibilities of government.

In 2013, Mr. Blavatnik provided a $10 million grant for immunobiology research at Yale to explore inflammation and chronic disease. The grant supports the work of immunobiologists Ruslan Medzhitov and Richard Flavell exploring how inflammation impacts the body’s homeostatic control mechanisms to trigger the onset of disease. Also in 2013, Mr. Blavatnik donated $50 million to Harvard University to launch a major initiative to expedite the development of basic science discoveries into breakthrough therapies for patients and cures for disease. The Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator will identify early-stage, highly promising technologies, upgrade their value, and prepare them for licensing and commercial development. The gift also creates the Blavatnik Fellowship in Life Science Entrepreneurship Program at Harvard Business School to provide M.B.A. students with experience in life science entrepreneurship through exposure to the biomedical projects supported by the Accelerator.

In 2014, Mr. Blavatnik provided a $20 million gift to Tel Aviv University (TAU) to launch the Blavatnik Initiative, a multi-year program committed to the advancement of interdisciplinary scientific research, discovery, and development at TAU.  The Initiative allocates funding to launch new TAU programs including:  the Blavatnik Center for Drug Discovery, the Blavatnik Computer Science Research Fund, the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center, the Blavatnik Student Film Production Fund and the Blavatnik President’s Faculty Recruitment Discretionary Fund to recruit talented young researchers in priority areas, including nanoscience, environmental studies, neuroscience and cyber, and in emerging fields, including computational linguistics, information security, and optical imaging.