Lev Khasis: from Manager of Aircraft Factory to Sberbank’s Top Manager

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Lev Khasis is an entrepreneur and banker who has made a successful career in business. The top manager began his career in the aviation industry, achieved impressive results in retail, and for the last ten years has overseen the Sber ecosystem as first deputy chair of Sberbank’s management board.

Early stages

The businessman was born on 5 June 1966, in Kuybyshev (now Samara) into a family of the employees of the KuAZ plant, one of the largest aircraft companies in the country. As Lev Khasis himself recalled, at the time he couldn’t even think of working in retail – the profession of salesman was considered unattractive by his parents. In 1984, he enrolled in the aircraft engineering department of the Kuybyshev Aviation Institute, where he studied well and took part in community service. After graduation in 1989, the young specialist stayed in his native university as head of the international relations department but didn’t work there long and went into business in 1991.

For the next three years, the entrepreneur headed the Samara Trading House created on the basis of the association InterVolga. In 1993, he decided to change trade to banking and headed the Samara branch of Avtovazbank. All this time, Lev Khasis continued his studies. In 1995, he learned economics at the Financial University under the government and six years later graduated from the St. Petersburg University of the Interior Ministry, majoring in law.

The next place of work for the top manager was KuAZ by then renamed Aviacor. Lev Khasis took over the company in 1995 when it was on the verge of bankruptcy, and wages had not been paid for nine months. The manager led Aviacor out of the crisis, pay off all debts, attract investments, and sign a cooperation agreement with Antonov Design Bureau. Thanks to the restructuring, it was possible to preserve the country’s leading aircraft building site and continue aircraft assembly.

Retail career

The struggle for the aviation plant’s survival lasted until 1999, when Russian Aluminum, which planned to invest $40M in Aviacor, undertook to save the plant. Khasis then moved from Samara to Moscow, where he joined the board of directors of the Perekrestok retail chain, and three years later became head of the company’s management. In the mid-2000s, the businessman was actively engaged in the development of Moscow’s oldest department stores, GUM and TSUM, and attracted investment. Khasis paid special attention to TSUM: under his management, the store was restructured and its assortment was renewed, while the revenue grew by 50%.

From 2006 until 2011, the top manager was an executive director of X5 Retail Group. During this period, the holding acquired about 100 stores, formerly Paterson and Ostrov, which allowed it to expand its retail network. In 2010, Lev Khasis oversaw the purchase of the supermarkets of the Kopeyka trading house, which was then considered the third largest player in the market. At the same time, the businessman was a member of the board of directors of Transaero, served as chair of the presidium of the Retail Trade Association, and was a member of the bureau of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.

In 2011, the top manager received an offer from WalMart Stores Inc. to become vice president of international operations, and Lev Khasis accepted. As the businessman himself noted, he was interested in gaining experience at a global company with revenues that can reach a trillion dollars a year. For the next two years, the executive worked at Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville (USA) and was involved in the integration of new networks and global leverage.

Work at Sberbank

In 2013, Lev Khasis was appointed first deputy chair of the management board of Sberbank. He was directly involved in the active construction of the Sber ecosystem, and a number of significant projects in digital technology development were implemented. As the top manager himself noted, one of the most important areas of work were online services for individuals and legal entities, thanks to which it was possible to transfer virtually all transactions to a remote format.

Lev Khasis oversaw the purchase of the Beru service, which became the basis for Sbermarket, was involved in logistics, and developed the Sberdostavka project. The top manager notes that the bank’s team over the past decade has managed to transform Sber from a financial institution into a modern technological company that can meet all the needs of the younger generation. One of the manager’s latest projects is a biometric system that allows the bank’s clients to receive all services without presenting any documents.

In an interview about his work, Lev Khasis emphasizes that the company’s main goal has always been to be one step ahead of its competitors. Everything Sber has managed to build in recent years meets the highest global standards, although the top manager has often had to work without days off or vacations to achieve this goal.

In 2022, Lev Khasis left his post in the management of Sberbank in order to focus on implementing his own business projects. The entrepreneur is currently residing in the United States.

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