Founder and chairman, Yerkin Tatishev is the strategic visionary behind the Kusto Group.
Born in 1976, Yerkin gathered a group of like-minded friends in 1998 to embark on a series of management projects aimed at turning around state mining assets in the former Soviet Union, starting in his native country of Kazakhstan. At the time he was studying a five-year course at Moscow State Management University.
What began as a seemingly impossible task — to transform failing and mismanaged assets in single industry towns such as Zhitigara — quickly grew into a story of successful transformation, under conditions of great challenge and uncertainty. It was here that Yerkin began to form an idea, that the lessons learned during these experiences could be applied to something separate, but much bigger: if you could define a core set of values and practices — born out of real life experiences, why not apply those successes elsewhere. And so the idea of a Kusto Group was born.
In 2002, Yerkin made good on his vision and launched Kusto, a separate and new entity. The vision behind Kusto was simple, learn from your past, and follow a long-term vision of investment diversification and growth, spotting opportunities that create synergies between and across business sectors. This approach led to investments in real estate, construction, and building materials — all areas that benefitted from shared knowledge, integrated management and a holistic vision of growth.
It was during this time that Yerkin took leadership positions in banking in Kazakhstan and Turkey. These experiences allowed Yerkin to further define and expand the growth horizon of Kusto, creating new partnerships including group expansion into agri-business and oil and gas.
Spotting the potential for further international growth, in 2013, Yerkin moved the company headquarters from Almaty to Singapore and took on the formal position of Group Chairman. The move to Singapore did not signal a slow down in Yerkin’s activities or role.
In 2014,Yerkin initiated and led the acquisition of Tambour — Israel’s leading paint and construction materials company. This was the first time Kusto invested in a well-established local company, buoyed by the promise and potential of international growth and expansion
Today Yerkin sits on three Kusto boards — Kusto Oil and Gas; Kusto Vietnam; and Tambour. He travels extensively.
Yerkin is married with four children and speaks English, Kazakh and Russian. He places teamwork above everything. For this reason he says he has no favourite Beatle, saying simply that the Beatles wouldn’t have been the Beatles without all of them.
He draws his inspiration from cultural, sporting and political heroes, including Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Tolstoy, Muhammad Ali and Joe Fraser, and is never happier than when learning from others.