|Mirilashvili Mikhail Mikhailovich
Born on May 1, 1960 in the village of Kulashi, Samtredi district, Georgia.
Received a higher medical education, specializing in pediatrics.
Influential St. Petersburg businessman: Chairman of "Petromir" holding's Board of Directors; President of Conti corporation.
Spheres of activity: pharmaceutics, medicine, construction, real estate, industrial production, new technologies, entertainment industry, restaurant and hotel business.
Well-known public figure: President of Maccabi Association of Jewish Aesthetics and Physical Culture Communities in St. Petersburg, Russia, CIS and the Baltic states; President of the Russian Jewish Congress's St. Petersburg branch; winner of charity prizes.
Married, has two children.
Kulashi is a settlement in Georgia, near Samtredi. Silkworm cultivation and work at a local weaving factory has been the main occupation of Kulashi's inhabitants for many years. Fine silk fabrics have been produced at the village's factory. Mikhail's grandfather Gabriel Mikhailovich has worked as the factory's Director for a long time. He was a well-known and highly respected man in the surrounding area. Mikhail's father Mikhail Gabrielovich worked as the factory's long-time Chief Engineer and leader.
Men of the Mirilashvili family never lacked management experience. And career successes have become habitual to them a long time ago. People in the neighboring areas used to say that the Mirilashvilis are natural born leaders, programmed for victory from birth.
Most residents of Kulashi have for a long time been detoted to Judaism. The ancient religion had come to Georgia 2,600 years ago, and members of the large and closely-tied Mirilashvili family have been brought up in good Jewish traditions from times immemorial.
Needless to say, the Mirilashvilis manifested their human qualities most prominently in their relations to each other, setting a remarkable example to both Georgians and Jews. Respect towards the elders, hard work, loyalty to one's word, attention to moral issues and care for one's family and neighbors have always been among the most basic values children in the Mirilashvili family were taught.
Mikhail Mikhailovich Mirilashvili was born in this large, solidary and respected family on May 1, 1960. Studies at school required little effort from Mikhail, and he showed some special abilities in the precise sciences. Parents encouraged their first-born son to study in every way possible, considering good education to be one of life's major priorities. Perhaps this is the reason why Mikhail Mirilashvili has not become a serious athlete, although he has always loved sports and had magnificient athletic abilities.
After graduating from secondary school Mikhail has decided to continue his education at a higher institution. At that time, medical education was considered to be especially prestigious in Georgia, and Leningrad's higher schools surpassed all others in their quality. Mikhail's upbringing played an important role in his choice of specialty. He decided to meet his parents' wishes and become a children's doctor. In 1977 Mikhail Mirilashvili has gone to Leningrad and, after passing a highly competitive exam, became a student of the city's School of Pediatric Medicine.
The Northern Capital accepted Mikhail, and he responded to it with sincere love. For over 20 years he has considered St. Petersburg to be his second hometown.
Mikhail's studies at the medical college and his active social life allowed him to widen his horizons, to acquire the qualities of a true leader. Numerous acquaintances with fellow St. Petersburgers, some equal in age and some older than Mikhail, were formed during this period. These people are now a part of his immediate surrounding and participate in many of his social and commercial projects.
That was the time when Mikhail got used to considering sincerity a basis of all human relations. He still thinks that a partner or co-worker can be forgiven many things, but not deceit or hypocrisy. It has long ago become been habitual to Mikhail to base all of his actions on the principles of honesty and morality.
Mikhail and his old-time companions remember a lot of fascinating stories from their college years. One of these stories is tied to his performance in the medical school's soccer team. The students played against a strong army unit's team in a critical match at a military training session in Murmansk. Mirilashvili outplayed several opponents and scored a magnificient goal. The training session's director saw this and was so impressed that Mikhail, who had previously had difficult relations with the school's military department, was the first person to pass the final test.
Mikhail Mirilashvili's inclination towards mathematics did not find an suitable application in a medical school, but it opened to him the world of intellectual games. Chess, "Leningrad preference" and every other activity that involved complex analysis and combinatorics became an important part of Mikhail's life. He was never ashamed of this passion for intellectual competition and became the first man in St. Petersburg to make such games a civilized business. Today Conti corporation owns the best of St. Petersburg's entertainment and gambling facilities, and United Jackpot prize system became the largest network of game machines in Europe.
In 1979 his bachelor's years were over: he has tied his life and destiny to a beautiful woman named Laura. They have two children by now. It is remarkable that the wedding of Mikhail's and Laura's elder daughter happened on the same day as the wedding of her parents 21 years earlier.
Laura is a pharmacist by training and has worked as a pharmaceutical chemist. After becoming a wife and a mother she has been busy raising her children. When the children grew up, she became actively involved in her husband's social and charitable work. Today, according to Mikhail, Laura "helps him spend money in a correct way".
After graduating from college in 1983, children's doctor Mikhail Mirilashvili had to return to Georgia and to begin medical practice. Being a grateful son, Mirilashvili could not go against his parents' will and to deceive their expectations.
But fate has judged otherwise, and Mikhail did not practice his original profession for a long time. The changes that began in the country gave him an opportunity to realize his enterprising potential that he had inherited from his ancestors and then developed further. Personal ties developed during his stay in St. Petersburg also helped Mikhail. But more important than anything else was Mirilashvili's good name, passed over to him by his ancestors, generation after generation. Partners trusted Mikhail's honesty and his word and invested into his first commercial operations.
Successes did not force him to wait long. It must be said to Mikhail Mirilashvili's credit that fortune did not make him lose his mind. After repaying the debts, he immediately reinvested the money he had earned into new projects. Income was reinvested over and over again. In a country of overwhelming deficit there were severe shortages of most necessary objects. One had only to react timely to changes in market conditions and to make correct decisions quickly.
At that time Mikhail needed all of his mathematical abilities and all of his communication talents. His upbringing, influenced by the age-old moral norms of Judaism, also made itself felt once again.
People who have known Mikhail for a long time remark about his ability to solve most confusing issues through negotiations as one of the distinctive features of his personality. His skills in building partner's relationships are well-known in the business world. One of his old companions said: "What I realized about partnership at the age of thirty, Misha knew when he was three".
Doing what his soul desired with inspiration, Mikhail Mirilashvili did not strive to earn a fixed sum of money. He considered all of his earnings a sign of another victory, of another step forward. He looked at money as an instrument to work with.
He also did not aim at achieving social success and status, at reaching a level in society calculable by the size of one's bank accounts, by the number of yachts and villas on exotic shores.
He simply labored selflessly each day of his life, improving his knowledge of economics, and step after step he came to his present recognition. Scrupulous work and experience in the analysis of successes and failures formed Mikhail Mirilashvili as we know him today.
He is well characterized by the phrase: "I do not wish to be first, but I cannot tolerate to be second". Many enterpreneurs, including those much older than Mikhail, have accepted his leadership after a while. Because of this recognition he became President of numerous organizations and associations in the 1990's.
Mikhail Mirilashvili's commercial successes can be evaluated in quite a sizable figure these days. But he himself considers financial measurements to be less important than other things. Until this day when Mikhail Mikhailovich is asked how much money he has, he always answers that he has enough for trouble-free living. Everything that exceeds his personal expenses is invested into his projects.
"A good project", as Mikhail himself likes to say, "is above all good economics. Good economics means good knowledge of the market, precise calculations, full lawfulness, good partner's relations and the ability to look further into the future than others do".
Mikhail Mirilashvili's present interests include pharmaceutics and high technologies, real estate and construction, restaurant and hotel business, food delivery and entertainment industry.
Mikhail Mikhailovich owns or holds a large portion of stocks of many of St. Petersburg's enterprises and commercial structures. In the year 2000 heads of dozens of enterprises united by "Petromir" holding elected Mikhail Mirilashvili Chairman of the holding's Board of Directors.
Mikhail Mikhailovich also pays close attention to the life of St. Petersburg's large Jewish community. He provides aid to the city's synagogue, assists the development of Maccabi Association of Jewish Aesthetics and Physical Culture.
Mikhail Mirilashvili has been closely involved in the work of Maccabi since early 1990's. He became President of the Association's St. Petersburg Club and of the Union of such clubs in the CIS and in the Baltic states.
Mikhail Mikhailovich's charitable activity deserves a description of its own. Traditions of charity are very old in Russia, but today there exists neither a legal foundation nor a culture of supporting people in need. Mikhail Mirilashvili became a pioneer and a recognized leader in this area.
As a result of popular polls conducted in St. Petersburg by the Russian Academy of Sciences, Mikhail Mirilashvili has twice become a laureate of "People of Our City" social award in "Sponsor of the Year" nomination, in 1999 and in 2000. His charity work has also been marked with other awards, but Mikhail Mikhailovich values this title above all because it has been given to him directly by citizens of St. Petersburg, and not by any committee or organization.
Jewish charity organizations "Eve" and "Hesed Abraham", patronized by Mikhail Mirilashvili, offer annual aid to tens of thousands of St. Petersburgers. Senior citizens and invalids, including non-Jews, are given food products and medicines, helped in house chores, provided with crutches and wheelchairs.
Mikhail Mikhailovich organized the sponsorship of free food drives for low-income St. Petersburgers. Beginning from early 1990's, Mikhail Mirilashvili has been holding bright Hanuka celebrations at the city's leading concert stages. Over the past several years this holiday has become an important annual event in the Northern Capital's cultural life and occupied a permanent position in the repertory of Oktyabrsky Concert Hall.
United Jackpot prize system, Europe's largest network of game machines, is a part of the holding managed by Mikhail Mirilashvili. Starting from June 1, 1999 (Children's Protection Day), the company has been regularly sending significant sums out of its income to St. Petersburg hospitals, boarding schools and children's homes. Mikhail Mikhailovich was able to create a growing flow of money into these institutions' funds from other sources as well. As of the end of the year 2000, financial aid to children's wards amounts to millions of rubles already.
The fact that Mikhail Mirilashvili is able to find time for sports is evidence of how remarkably organized he is. He was forced to abandon soccer after he has injured a leg muscle needed for striking in an important match. After looking for a game where this injury would not be felt as much, Mikhail chose tennis. His perseverence and stamina manifested themselves again in this new field of activity. After three or four years he became one of St. Petersburg's strongest players among non-professionals, a threat to all amateurs. Participants and viewers of tournaments such as "White Nights", "St. Petersburg Duet", "Press Cup" and "Governor's Tournament" remember Mirilashvili's striking victories. He has had a chance to play with world-scale tennis stars, such as Bjorn Borg, Henri Lecomte, Andrei Chesnokov and many others. Mikhail is still proud of his victories over Chesnokov and Lecomte in pair category.
Personal life and business became so closely intertwined for Mikhail Mirilashvili that he has carried his affection for tennis into the area of commerce. Mikhail Mirilashvili's favorite creation, Conti corporation, became co-owner of ATP-Tour series St. Petersburg Open tennis tournament. In the year 2000, with the help of a new partner, the tournament increased its prize fund to $800,000, nearly catching up with million-dollar tournaments. St. Petersburg Open's participants and guests testified to the high quality of game organization, as well as of other related events. Such high level of organization was achieved when Mikhail Mirilashvili became one of the tournament's sponsors.
Mikhail Mirilashvili is an exemplary family man in his personal life. Despite his busy schedule, he finds time to go to a museum or restaurant with his wife several times a week. Mikhail and Laura are regular visitors of Mariinsky theatre's opera and ballet.
Mikhail's daughter Tamara went to Israel after graduating from a gymnasium in St. Petersburg and got married in August, 2000, informing her parents that she wishes to earn her living herself. She attends one of Israel's universities and dreams of becoming a model designer.
Mikhail's son Vyacheslav will soon be graduating from an American diplomatic school. The father is proud of his son's absolute excellency in studies. But he values the fact that teachers always remark about Vyacheslav's fine personal qualities before speaking about his scholarly and athletic achievements above all. Mikhail Mikhailovich hopes that his son will become his chief assistant in the family business in the future.
Once, as Mikhail and Laura walked along the bank of Neva on a white night, they've encountered acquaintances who were walking their pet dwarf poodles. Being offered a puppy, the couple answered "yes", unexpectedly to themselves. And thus Julia became Mikhail's and Laura's pet. Mikhail Mikhailovich jokes that while Laura did a fine job bringing her children up, her upbringing of the family's dog was rather bad. Julia grew up capricious, but still adorable.
What else? Mikhail Mirilashvili is not particularly fond of sweets, but he sometimes does not mind an ice-cream in "Conti" casino's restaurant or an almond cookie made by "Olympia"'s Chef. He does not smoke and is indifferent to alcohol.
He does not play in a casino often, preferring games with strong opponents at tournaments organized by Conti corporation. He is still attracted by intellectual card games, such as preference and poker. But he seldom allows himself to play till morning, as in the old days: it makes it difficult to work the next day.
The last time he sang at a party was in the early 1980's, by personal request of popular singer Alla Pugacheva. Since that time he always declines to sing, saying he's never heard anything more awful. He loves good music, though, and is friends with some well-known composers and performers.
Mikhail Mirilashvili is familiar with many politicians, although he himself does not participate in political activity on the basis of principle. He believes that everyone should be doing what he knows and is able to do best. His Judaic creed teaches to cooperate with legitimate authority rather than to oppose it.
He is serious and unyielding when necessary, but cheerful and humorous in other situations. He is generous and kind, gets mad and forgives easily. In a word, Mikhail Mikhailovich Mirilashvili is a normal man, like any other should be.