The meeting addressed progress in the implementation of the Presidential instructions on withdrawing civil servants from boards of directors at state companies and replacing them with independent directors.
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, colleagues,
Today, you will be able to see what independent directors look like; it will be clear who is and is not an independent director.
I have brought you together to discuss corporate governance at companies with state participation. Its efficacy depends on how well the boards of directors and supervisory boards are functioning, and how key decisions are made. (I know this from direct experience, since I was a member of Gazprom’s board of directors for eight years and chaired the board of directors for part of that time.) Ultimately, the situation at these companies influences investment activity and the appeal of the Russian economy. So a great deal will depend on you, on your professional experience and your business reputation.
You are well aware of the goals of this decision: increasing transparency and management efficiency, resulting in the growth of the company’s capitalisation. Still, that isn’t even the most important part. Let me remind you that I started implementing the institution of independent directors back in 2008. Following the latest instructions, civil servants are being withdrawn from the boards of directors of state companies and replaced with independent directors and government representatives. In addition, by October 1 of this year, joint stock companies with state participation must select chairpersons for their boards of directors from among individuals who are not government employees.
We are forming the regulatory framework for the activities of independent directors and their corresponding participation in state companies and those companies’ boards of directors. As advised by the Government, the most recent changes were made just a few weeks ago to specify the requirements to the representatives, introduce a definition for professional representatives, list their responsibilities and address a whole set of other issues.
Today, I would like for us to discuss how legislation is being enforced and how relations are being built with colleagues representing the government’s interests, particularly on issues that require state directives. I remember how we always used to discuss this issue at length, the way that voting on these state directives took place. It’s not all as simple as it might seem at first glance.
I would also like for you to tell me whether there are any complications with access to information in joint stock companies. And finally, perhaps this is also quite important in the context of the current ideas, I would like you to tell me your opinions on the plans to privatise state companies: how quickly it can be done, what objectives must be achieved as a result, and everything connected to the sale of part or all of the government share of these companies.
If there are any other issues, let’s discuss those as well.