July 16, 2020: Nikolay Ignatiev, the charismatic president of AKOM, died on July 12 aged just 67.
“He was a hugely important figure in the Russian battery industry,” says Claudia Lorenzini, vice president of sales and marketing at Microporous. “Nikolay bridged the gap between east and west, being able to work smoothly between the two. In recent years he was a key figure in doing just that for EUROBAT.
“He was a cosmopolitan and friendly figure with a great sense of humour. He also had a huge drive to push the Russian battery business forward through innovation and hard work to make it state of the art. He will be sorely missed.”
In a lengthy tribute, Akom spoke of the company’s sadness over his death.
“He devoted all his life to the good of Russian industry,” it said. “Nikolay was well known in our country and beyond as a talented entrepreneur, a professional of the highest level, who has created an industrial technological leader — the AKOM plant — for the production of world-class starter batteries, supplying more than 50% to the Russian car market.”
AKOM was registered as a company in 2001, and a year later was producing its first SLI batteries. By 2005 it was producing one million batteries a year, and went on to make a wide range of batteries, including AGM and EFB.
Ignatiev was the driving force in leading the company to join industry associations domestically and abroad. Interbat, a Russian trade body and conference, said: “Since joining the leadership of the association — he was our vice president — Nikolay became a source of new initiatives and ideas that have significantly increased its influence in the industry.
“We are truly saddened by this terrible event — the passing of our friend and colleague.”
Ignatiev was also vice president of Rusbat, and AKOM became the first Russian company to be a full member of EUROBAT. In mid-February this year, just before the coronavirus pandemic put paid to practically all global events, AKOM hosted its second ‘Battery Innovation’ conference in Tolyatti in western Russia.
“It was the only conference in Russia that aimed at the development of production, science, technology and engineering in the field of current resources and energy storage systems,” Ignatiev said at the time.
Ignatiev won various industry awards during his career, along with letters of thanks and acknowledgements from representatives of the Samara region, where he worked in helping to improve the socio-economic development of the region.
Unusually for a Russian he was also an Icelandic citizen complete with passport. He spent 25 years in the country and retained a holiday home there where he spent vacations each year.
“This is an irreparable loss for everyone. The staff of AKOM Group of Companies deeply mourn and express sincere condolence to the relatives and friends of Nikolay,” the company tribute said. “We will forever preserve the memory of Nikolay and will be proud that we worked under his leadership.”
Turkish battery firm Zesar, which lost its company founder Zeki Sarıçam to Covid-19 on May 3, also paid tribute to Ignatiev, saying it “deeply mourns and expresses our sincere condolences to the relatives, friends and colleagues of Nikolay Mikhailovich Ignatiev”.
He leaves behind Lilya, his wife of over 30 years, and two daughters.