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Jan Kulczyk was the most successful and influential entrepreneur in Poland and in the Central and Eastern European region and was a major international investor as well. His company, Kulczyk Investments, is the only Polish company to operate globally, focusing on opportunities in emerging markets around the world and specialising in four strategic sectors - mineral resources, energy, infrastructure, and real estate. 70% of its investments are made outside Poland and it is currently active in 32 countries across four continents.

Jan Kulczyk played a key role in the transformation of the Polish economy after the end of communism, participating in some of the largest deals and shareholding restructurings as well as launching major projects of his own. These include the merger of leading Polish breweries to create Kompania Piwowarska subsequently swapped with SAB Miller, of which Kulczyk Investments is now one of the largest shareholders, and the first major public-private partnership to construct the A2 motorway linking Poland to Western Europe. Recent investments by Kulczyk Investments include oil production in Nigeria and mining in Afghanistan.

In his business philosophy, success depends on a willingness to make long term commitments and the ability to transform the businesses in which he invested. He believed that the lessons he had learned in building his own business amid the many difficulties of post-Communist Poland give him a unique insight into the challenges facing other emerging market economies, notably in Africa where Kulczyk Investments are increasing their presence.

Jan Kulczyk remained deeply involved in all aspects of his business and this personal commitment has helped him to build strong partnerships with some of the world’s most influential businessmen.

He had long been a leading advocate of the economic potential of Central and Eastern Europe. He was the founder and member of the EU-Ukraine Commercial Council and Honorary Chairman of the German-Polish Chamber of Commerce. In 2010, he had founded the CEED Institute, an international think-tank which promotes the achievements and the economic potential of Central and East European countries. In 2014, Jan Kulczyk created the Council of Investors in Africa. He was also a member of the International Advisory Board of the Atlantic Council.

Jan Kulczyk’s passions and interests were not limited to business. Since 2005 he had been involved with Green Cross International, the world’s third largest non-profit environmental NGO, established in 1993 by Mikhail Gorbachev. In 2007 he became the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Green Cross International, actively promoting dialogue among environmentalists, politicians and businessmen to raise global and national awareness of the importance of sustainable development.

He was also a noted philanthropist. He was the single largest donor to the new Museum of the History of the Polish Jews and a strategic sponsor of the Polish Olympic Committee.