Russian terminal operator Global Ports Investments has announced that Vladislav Baumgertner has succeeded Alexander Nazarchuk as CEO from 17 August.
After being invited for a meeting with Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, Baumgertner was arrested in Minsk in August 2013, on charges of “abusive exercise of power and abuse of office” in his role as chairman of Belarusian Potash Company (BPC).
BPC was a joint export partnership set up by Russian potash producer Uralkali and Belarusian potash fertilizers company Belaruskali. The partnership collapsed in a dispute over pricing, which has led observers to speculate that Baumgertner’s arrest by Belarusian authorities was politically-motivated.
He was the CEO of Uralkali from April 2003 to December 2013 when, according to the Russian Legal Information Agency RAPSI, he was dismissed from his position after being placed on house arrest.
According to RAPSI, he was extradited to Moscow in November 2013, placed under house arrest in December 2013 and released on a 15m Russian ruble (worth around US$391,000 at the time) bail in September 2014.
In November 2014, he became the managing director of the investment bank Meridian Capital, a position he held until June 2015.
In February 2015, Belarusian Prosecutor General Alexander Konyuk told TASS, the Russian news agency: “As far as I know the criminal case against Baumgertner has been dropped [in Russia]”. He added that damages claims could still be filed against him.
According to TASS, Belarus claimed that the criminal schemes made by Uralkali, which also involved the company’s largest shareholder and four other Uralkali executives, cost the country US$100m.
Global Ports has suffered a difficult 2014, due to Russia’s economic problems, with its latest results published in March this year announcing a 4.3% year-on-year decline in gross container throughput.
Tiemen Meester, chairman of Global Ports, said: “Vladislav has led companies in challenging economic times as well as through important periods of growth and has always done so with an eye to creating a fitter, better positioned business.
“He has the right expertise and experience to strengthen our leadership team as we build on Global Ports’ position as the largest operator in the Russian container port sector.”
Nazarchuk, who has been the company’s CEO from December 2008 to 17 August this year, stepped down from the role and will continue to serve on the board of the company as a non-executive director.
Baumgertner was awarded a Master in Business Administration (MBA) in General Management at Kingston Business School in 2002, followed by a MSc in Financial Management at University of London in 2004.