Jan Kulczyk (24 June 1950 – 29 July 2015) was a Polish billioanire businessman and Entrepreneur. He was the founder and owner of Kulczyk Holding (headquartered in Warsaw) and an international investment house Kulczyk Investments (former name: Kulczyk Investment House) with headquarters in Luxembourg and offices in London and Kiev. According to the Forbes magazine, Kulczyk was the richest Pole.
Kulczyk graduated from VI Jan i Jędrzej Śniadeccy Secondary School in Bydgoszcz in 1968. He studied law at the Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan and foreign trade at the Poznań University of Economics and Business (then: Academy of Economics in Poznań). He received a doctor’s degree in political sciences and international law in 1975.
Jan Kulczyk was divorced with two children from his marriage with Grażyna Kulczyk: Sebastian (born 1980) and Dominika (born 1977). After the divorce, Joanna Przetakiewicz was his long-time partner.
In 1981 Kulczyk founded his first company with money from his Father Henryk. The Interkulpol joint-venture was one of the first international trade companies formed in Poland after the second world war. In 1988, Jan Kulczyk became the official Volkswagen dealer in Poland. His first large-scale deal was a PLN 150-million (35.7 million euro) sale of 3,000 Volkswagen cars delivered to the Polish police and the security services in the early 1990s. In 1991, Kulczyk Holding a limited liability company was founded. In 1993, the company changed its legal form into a joint-stock company. Jan Kulczyk held the post of the chairman of the supervisory board.
In 2004, Jan Kulczyk was associated with to the Orlen Scandal. The parliamentary investigative commission report stated that Jan Kulczyk could have considerable influence over operations and human resources politics of PKN Orlen, incommensurable to the share he held. Moreover, the report stated that Jan Kulczyk met with the former KGB resident in Poland, Vladimir Alganov.
In February 2008, he was incorporated into confraternity of the Order of Saint Paul.
In 2009, company traded a 28% share in Kompania Piwowarska for a 3% share in SABMiller - the world’s second biggest beer Producer.
In 2010, he founded the CEED Institute, a think-tank promoting the development of Central and Eastern Europe region.
In 2012, the Forbes magazine put Jan Kulczyk at the top of the richest businessmen in Poland ranking, with PLN 8.9 billion (2.1 billion euro). The same year, the Wprost magazine also put Jan Kulczyk at the top of its ranking, assessing his wealth at PLN 9,7 billion. In 2013, the American edition of Forbes magazine rated Jan Kulczyk 384th of the wealthiest people in the world, with a $3.5 billion worth fortune, making him the highest ranked Pole among the world’s billionaires.
In March 2014, he founded the Council of Polish Investors in Africa, an initiative formed to support Polish companies in establishing Business relations on the African markets. The Council consists of representatives of the largest Polish companies and enterprises investing on this continent, including Ursus, Navimor, Asseco, Kulczyk Investments, Polpharma, Grupa Azoty, Krezus and Lubawa.
Jan Kulczyk died on 29 July 2015 in Allgemeines Krankenhaus der Stadt Wien in Vienna due to postoperative complications. He was buried in the family vault at the Jeżycki cemetery in Poznan, next to his Father, Henryk Kulczyk (1925-2013).
Jan Kulczyk was also linked to the so-called Kulczyk Park affair. The Poznan city officials were accused of underrating the land value in the city center, where Jan Kulczyk’s wife carried out the Old Brewery investment.