GPB Global Resources B.V., a company conducting oil exploration and production operations around the globe was founded by Mr. Boris Ivanov. Originally from Moscow, his company now has numerous international offices with significant production and exploration operations in both South America and Africa.
In 2007, while working for Gazprom, Boris became the Director-General for the Dutch registered Gazprom EP (Exploration & production) International, initially an oil exploration company created to facilitate Gazprom’s entry into new overseas markets. In 2011, Mr. Ivanov was appointed to his current position as the Managing Director of GPB Global Resources B.V. and in 2016, GPB Global Resources B.V went through a leveraged buyout process and Mr. Ivanov became the company’s major shareholder.
Early Career Path
Having obtained a degree in International Relations, Boris started his career by working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR. He worked within the Ministry for a decade from 1983 to 1993 and gained experience in international diplomacy by working on US-Soviet relations. He was part of the diplomatic staff stationed at the Soviet embassy in Washington D.C. during the mid-1980s, providing him with exposure to numerous international issues and allowing him to broaden his professional network in both the US and Russia.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, business and entrepreneurship became the lifeblood of the new Russian market economy. With a ‘can do’ spirit Mr. Ivanov embraced that new reality, leaving public service in 1993 to seek work in the private sector.
After a brief period of work as a private consultant for one of the emerging oil businesses in the North of Russia, he returned to Moscow in 1995 and took up a position with Unibest Bank as Vice President, primarily working on financing oil and gas projects for the bank until 2000.
At the turn of the millennium he was invited on a team tasked with turning around the Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG (RSK MiG), a famed Soviet military aircraft designer, which was experiencing financial difficulties adapting to the new world of market economy. As First-Deputy Director-General for Strategy, Boris Ivanov travelled the world in search of new markets and aircraft service contracts to generate cash flows for the company.
Ivanov’s efforts paid off and after serving for two years as a Deputy Director-General and returning RSK MiG to a sound financial footing; in 2004 Boris was brought back into the petroleum business. He was appointed to the position of Advisor to the Chairman of Gazprombank OJSC where he was responsible for overseeing and developing the bank’s projects in other countries and assisting Gazprom in its strategy of international expansion. Between 2007 and 2011 Boris Ivanov would also lead Gazprom Exploration and Production International B.V. – a specialized outfit tasked with gaining new upstream projects for the Gazprom group.
Through Mr. Ivanov’s leadership, the subsidiary achieved notable successes in Africa. In 2009, Gazprom EP International B.V. negotiated a deal with the government of Namibia valued at over $1bn to build a power plant and help the country realize the value of its natural gas resources. The firm also considered significant investments in Nigeria for oil and natural gas extraction and in 2010 the Gazprom affiliate led by Boris Ivanov made a gas discovery in Algeria – a first for Gazprom outside of the borders of the former USSR.
Leadership and Management Style
As part of his role at GPB Global Resources B.V. Mr. Ivanov prefers to set objectives and then his executives execute the details – something that can only be achieved through employing the right people for the right roles. He is known for his belief that the most important thing is to be able to listen to people, as well as lead them and believes that a leader is only as strong as his or her support team. GPB Global Resources B.V. places great importance on forming its teams with a complementary combination of skills and experiences for each task and Mr. Ivanov is known for focusing on only making principle-based decisions that align with GPB Global Resources B.V’s long-term direction for the business.
Mr Ivanov argues that it is critical to take care of the talent GPB Global Resources B.V. (@GPBGlobal) has built over the years because its employees are the company’s most valuable resource. Every decision he makes weighs more heavily in terms of the impact it has on the employees’ lives than in its effect on the company’s profits. Over the past 10 years, Boris Ivanov’s GPB Global Resources has evaluated over 200 projects, progressed with eleven of them, and had two major successes, which is an exceptionally high success rate for an oil exploration and production company. As the owner and Managing Director, the outcome of every strategic executive decision, for better or worse, has ultimately been Boris’ responsibility.
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Personal Growth and Key Learnings
For an international businessperson like Boris Ivanov, long hours and frequent travelling around the world are an unfortunate working necessity. Mr Ivanov believes that time spent with friends and family is a rare and valuable commodity, one that has no monetary equivalent and that his biggest learning experience remains watching his children grow up.
His musical choice is typically classical music and, true to the days of his Soviet youth, Boris is an avid football fan. He is involved in many charitable initiatives and contributes to several causes, including the Princess Grace foundation and numerous cultural activities.
Mr. Ivanov’s personal mantra is to, “Never take ‘no’ for an answer, and to not to believe people who say, ‘it cannot be done.’” His attitude shows the unmistakable imprint of a dynamic and energetic personality and this energy is visible in the way he leads GPB Global Resources as it enters the next phase of its international growth.