(SRI) - Timur Kulibayev, the billionaire son-in-law of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, has on Tuesday been named head of the state-owned investment and holding company Samruk-Kazyna.
Kulibayev, who until now acted as the company's deputy head, has replaced Kairat Kelimbetov, who had been appointed Minister of Economic Development and Trade on Monday.
Kulibayev, widely considered one of Kazakhstan's most influential businessmen, is already chairman of several companies controlled by Samruk-Kazyna, including the national oil and gas company KazMunaiGas, railway operator Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, and power producer Samruk-Energo. He also heads the KazEnergy association, Kazakhstan's powerful oil and gas lobbying group.
Kulibayev and his wife Dinara Kulibayeva, the second-eldest of President Nazarbayev's three daughters, are the largest shareholders in Kazakhstan's second largest bank, Halyk Bank. Kulibayev and his wife each have an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion, according to Forbes magazine.
"Kulibayev's appointment is a clear sign of his growing strength within the elite, but we should now look ahead to other cadre reshuffles to see whether any counterweights materialize on the scene," political analyst Dosym Satpayev told Associated Press.
Kulibayev has often been tipped as a possible successor of Nazarbayev, who has turned 70 last year, but so far has shown little ambition for public office, instead preferring to advance his considerable business interests in Kazakhstan.