The investments of real-estate empire Africa Israel Investments Ltd., controlled by Russian billionaire Lev Leviev, are foundering day by day amid the global crisis weighing on its assets.
Against such a reality, 37-year-old Nadav Grinshpon has jumped to the top of the pyramid of the empire over the past year, rising to one of the strongest assets Leviev has left as the group has focused on selling assets after a slump in the value of its real-estate investments in the US and Russia led to difficulties in refinancing its long-term debt.
Considered the right hand of the oligarch, Tel Aviv-born Grinshpon, who is involved in almost every step of Leviev's business activities between Namibia and Russia, was appointed deputy chairman of Africa Israel Investment's board of directors in June, after operating as its acting chief executive officer for eight months before the appointment of Izzy Cohen as CEO.
Grinshpon's career at the Africa Israel Group began more than 10 years ago. He has held positions in several companies of the group from chief financial officer at Memorand Management Ltd. in 1998 to CEO of Memorand Group Ltd. in 2002. Since 2005, he has served as a director of Africa Israel Investments and since 2007 he has been the group's adviser on investments and financing.
Last year he took up a number of positions at several subsidiaries of the group, such as chairman of the board of directors at Africa Israel Properties Ltd. and director at Africa Israel Residences Ltd., Afi Development Plc., Africa Israel Industries Ltd. and Denya Cebus Ltd. Since January 2008, Grinshpon has also served as a director at Blue Square Israel, in which the Africa Israel Group holds a controlling interest through its holdings in the Alon Israel Oil Company Ltd. Furthermore Grinshpon is a director at Dor Alon Energy Israel Ltd. and Dor Alon USA Energy Inc.
Grinshpon, married and the father of three, is a CPA, and holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and accounting from the College of Management. Before joining the ranks of the Africa Israel Group, he was senior vice president of a communications company in Eastern Europe and prior to that worked as manager of the economic department of Zohar, Zohar & Co., an Israeli accounting firm.