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Herman O. Gref was born on February 8, 1964, in Panfilovo, Irtyshsky District, Pavlodar Oblast, Kazakh SSR.
In 1990, he graduated from F. M. Dostoyevsky Omsk State University with a degree in Law, and in 1993 he completed his postgraduate studies in the Law department at St. Petersburg State University. PhD in Economics.
In 1991-1992, he was a category 1 legal adviser for the Economic Development and Property Committee of the Administration of Petrodvorets and St. Petersburg.
In 1992, he was appointed the Head of the Petrodvorets District Agency of the Committee for City Property Management, St. Petersburg Mayor's Office
In 1992-1994, he was Chairman of the Property Management Committee and Deputy Head of the Administration of Petrodvorets.
In 1994, he was appointed Deputy Chairman and, later, First Deputy Chairman of the Committee for City Property Management, St Petersburg Mayor’s Office.
In 1997-1998, he was Vice Governor and Chairman of the Committee for City Property Management, St. Petersburg Mayor's Office
In 1998–2000, he held the post of the First Deputy Minister of State Property of the Russian Federation.
In 2000-2007, he was Minister of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation.
Since November 2007, he has been the CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of Sberbank.
Awarded the Order of Merit for Service to the Fatherland, 3rd and 4th Class, the Order of Honor, the Order of Alexander Nevsky, the P.A. Stolypin Medal, 2nd Class, the Order of St. Prince Daniel of Moscow, 1st Class, and the Certificate of Honor and Acknowledgments from the President of the Russian Federation.
He has been awarded the highest honor in France; he was made an Officer of the Legion of Honor.
For outstanding achievements in banking and personal contribution to the development of Sberbank, he was awarded the Golden Badge of Sberbank of Russia.