Bankers to succeed officals at Russia company boards: report

5th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia plans to pick investment bankers and professional directors to replace government officials at state company boards in line with President Dmitry Medvedev's orders, a report said on Tuesday.

Kommersant business daily published a list of candidates who could replace deputy prime ministers and ministers on the boards of the top 19 companies which accounted for 15 percent of the country's gross domestic product in 2009.

Last week, Medvedev reeled off a list of measures to improve the investment climate that among other things calls for some of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's most trusted allies to stand down from company boards.

This prompted some observers to speculate that the Kremlin chief is seeking to assert himself ahead of presidential polls next year.

According to Kommersant, Igor Sechin, Putin's influential deputy and energy czar, could be replaced by Rair Simonyan, non-executive chairman at Morgan Stanley Russia, or Vyacheslav Martynov, general director for SAP CIS.

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, who has to quit the board of VTB bank, could be replaced by Vladimir Gusakov, vice-president of MICEX exchange, former deputy economics minister Kirill Androsov or Nikolai Pryanishnikov, president of Microsoft Russia, the report said.

On Saturday, the Kremlin published a list of 17 companies whose boards state officials should leave by July 1. The Kremlin added that government officials should quit boards of all state companies by October 1.

Kommersant indicated that even though the lists of successors appeared to have been put together in haste, it must have taken at least several weeks to compile them.

"The presidential initiative was clearly not a completely impromptu move," it said.

While many economists have said that if implemented, the move would improve corporate governance, others say Medvedev's order is another false dawn in an uphill struggle to dismantle a system of state control over the economy put in place under his predecessor.

© 2011 AFP

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