22 May 2012
In a new Cabinet whose composition was widely leaked in advance, Alexander Novak's elevation to the crucial energy portfolio came as one of the biggest surprises.
In 2008, Novak moved from his role as a deputy governor of the Krasnoyarsk region to the Finance Ministry in Moscow to become a deputy finance minister under Alexei Kudrin.
Sources at oil and gas companies said Novak's appointment to the job of energy minister was unexpected and one former executive from a top company, who requested anonymity to speak freely, said he had never even heard of Novak.
Prior to his stint in regional government in Russia, the Moscow State University graduate was based above the Arctic Circle in the city of Norilsk, where he worked in both business and politics for 14 years.
The attention of experts was drawn immediately to Novak's background in the Finance Ministry, which has long battled to squeeze as much revenue as possible from mineral extraction and oil and gas exports for the state's coffers.
"The key issue for the energy industry right now is tax reform and tariff regulation, and if [Novak] can improve the relationship with the Finance Ministry, that can only be helpful," the former energy executive said.
Alexander Novak (Àëåêñàíäð Âàëåíòèíîâè÷ Íîâàê) was born on August 23, 1971 in the town of Avdeyevka, Ukraine.
Education: Economics and Steel Industry Management, Norilsk Industrial Institute, 1993; Management, Moscow State University, 2009
1988-1997: Worked at Norilsk Nickel (Zavenyagin Steel Combine in Norilsk) as a hydrometallurgy machine operator, technician, assistant engineer for labor efficiency and wages, economic expert and head of the accounts department at the finance office
1997-1999: Department head, board head, deputy director for economics, Norilsk Nickel
1999-2000: Deputy director for economics and board head, deputy director for personnel and board head, Norilsk Nickel Transpolar Branch
2000-2002: Norilsk deputy mayor for economics and finance, Norilsk first deputy mayor
2002-2007: Deputy governor of the Krasnoyarsk region in charge of the region's central finance board
July 2007-July 2008: First deputy governor of the Krasnoyarsk region
July-September 2008: Prime minister of the Krasnoyarsk region
September 2008-May 2012: Deputy finance minister
May 2012-present: Energy minister in Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's Cabinet
Novak is married and has two children.