Michel Litvak was born in Leningrad in 1951. Both of his parents were Russians. His mother survived the siege of the city during World War II, while his father was one of the few in his large family to survive the Nazis.
The Litvak family left the Soviet Union and immigrated to Belgium via Poland, settling in Brussels in 1962.
As the Litvak family arrived to Belgium without any means, the entire family had to work hard. As a teenager, Michel Litvak worked to help out and did not have the privilege of pursuing higher education.
Even with his beginnings as a UN refugee, Michel Litvak became a world class entrepreneur with an outstanding ability to execute his ambitious vision time and again.
In 1974, Michel Litvak managed to find the financing to start, in Belgium, his first business venture – a chain of medical laboratories. In parallel, he became a commodity trader.
In 1990 , following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Michel Litvak moved back to Russia and settled in Moscow. He started out by building up a consumer goods trading activity between Russia and China, which became the largest business of its kind for several years. He later pioneered a new private industry in Russia, being the first to offer Russian energy companies a full range of transportation and logistics outsourcing services. His company, Oteko Group, became the leader in this field and over time owned the largest fleet of rail tankers.
Through his activity in energy logistics, Michel Litvak realized that as a result of the dismantling of the former USSR, Russia had lost two thirds of its harbors. He understood the opportunity in building a new private harbor for the export of energy, raw materials and goods from southern Russia and Central Asia. His vision was to build the largest port, logistics and industrial manufacturing hub in Southern Russia. In order to realize his vision, in 2000 he began acquiring vast plots of land suitable for a deep sea harbor by the Black Sea. In 2004, Oteko started building its harbor in Taman. It was a hugely complex engineering program, which today is one of Russia’s largest private investment projects. The project, from its inception, never received public funding in any form whatsoever.
Following its massive private investment, in 2012 Oteko opened its energy terminal; in 2019 it opened its dry bulk terminal, and plans to open a grain and dry bulk cargo terminal are in the works. OTEKO’s vision, beyond its port, is to create in Taman modern high-tech agro-industrial and petrochemical clusters. Today, Oteko is the largest creator of jobs in southern Russia.
Following his passion for movies, over 15 years ago Michel Litvak established Bold Films, a Hollywood film production company which has produced several notable movies over the years, such as Bobby, Drive, Nightcrawler, and Whiplash, which was nominated for five Academy Awards and won three.
Michel Litvak has always been a philanthropist and an avid supporter of the State of Israel . He established the Michel Litvak Family Foundation, which has been a longtime supporter of the Institution for Policy and Strategy (IPS) at IDC Herzliya and of its annual Herzliya conference.
Michel Litvak has been married to actress Svetlana Metkina for the past 25 years. He has four children – David, Alexander, Polina and Michel.