Activities through 2011
This section includes everything published on this website through 2011, when Founding Chair Matthew Murray left for a position with the Obama Administration and Patricia Dowden was named President.
On June 7, 2011, Michael McFaul, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia and Eurasia for the National Security Staff, and Vladislav Surkov, First Deputy Head of the Russian Presidential Administration, hosted the third plenary session of the Civil Society Working Group of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission in Washington D.C.
CFBE Chair, Matthew Murray, who is a delegate to the Civil Society Working Group’s sub-group on Anti-Corruption, discussed recent results of cooperation among US and Russian civil society organizations to counter the transnational threat of corruption. These results included strong support for Russia’s momentous decision to sign the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in May 2009. Mr. Murray also presented recent results of the Russian Energy Compliance Alliance to create national compliance standard in all companies in the power industry, develop the standards into “Russian best practices”, and institutionalize a recognized certification process (ISO, IAS) that is practical for large and small companies in Russia. Mr. Murray emphasized that this strategy is intended to engage public and private stakeholders to counter a systemic problem.
RECA members Ilsur Akhmetshin from ABB and Larisa Potapova from Siemens Energy attended an event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce featuring the head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service Igor Artemyev. Mr. Artemyev discussed FAS’s recent decision in the Novo-Nordisk case and its implications for global companies conducting anti-corruption compliance due diligence on third parties in Russia.
In his remarks at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 16, U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle expressed support of the Center for Business Ethics & Corporate Governance and stated “that it has made a great contribution to building public-private partnerships against corruption.”
Ambassador Beyrle called upon the U.S. and Russian business community to take further leadership steps to promote voluntary ethics and compliance. He further expressed his hope that next year the St. Petersburg Forum will include a panel focused on best practices of business conduct in Russia.
In July CFBE’s Project Team members worked with Siemens and ABB on next steps in Module 1 of the Russian Energy Compliance Alliance. CFBE is finalizing training and anti-corruption tool-kits for delivery to the partner chains of RECA members by the beginning of 2012. The interest and commitment of RECA members underpins the scope of work that has been done by RECA and paves the road to sharing best practices throughout the power industry. The training and tool-kit is designed to measure RECA members’ commitment in raising public awareness and creating a new standard of anti-corruption compliance in the market.
On June 9, 2011, the US-Russia Business Council held its Third Annual Russia Legal Forum in London, UK, dedicated to a discussion of corporate governance and anti-corruption legislation. Matthew Murray, Chairman, Center for Business Ethics and Corporate Governance, gave a presentation on Corporate Governance in Russia.
Mr. Murray shared the view that business is an important change agent in the Russian environment today, because it has the incentives, resources and skills to tie together the different strands of reform currently underway.
Mr. Murray discussed that the Russian Corporate Code of Conduct is a voluntary mechanism for business to induce cultural change from inside the company and push those changes into the larger operating environment. This approach to corporate governance is underpinned by three basic principles: law can only go so far, internal behavior can’t be mandated since every company is different, and overly-detailed laws are counterproductive.
Mr. Murray noted the following steps are required to take corporate governance reform to the next level in Russia: first, good corporate governance should be properly rewarded by the state; second, the public environment should enable good corporate governance. He shared the opinion that many issues associated with corporate governance lie outside the regulatory arena and have an ethical rather than legal nature. Ethics standards and best practice, together with the law, should form a company's policy of corporate governance based on respect for interests of shareholders, management, and external stakeholders.
*This photo is a courtesy of USRBC
At the invitation of the Russian Government, CFBE Chair, Matthew Murray was invited to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June. He was asked to participate in specific panels devoted to how to create new best practices of business conduct in Russia.
Mr. Murray was interviewed by Forbes magazine on how Russia may change foreign investors’ perception of risk and return in Russia. He emphasized that in order to gain the trust of foreign investors, Russia needs to implement Medvedev’s initiatives on allowing individuals and companies to bring claims directly against the state organs that engage in corrupt practices; reduce the size and role of state-controlled enterprises in the economy; and reduce the state’s heavy hand in regulating the economy, including ending the practice of law enforcement interfering in commercial disputes. For further reference, please see the article at CFBE Press section.
In June, CFBE managers met with ABB Country Compliance Officer Ilsur Akhmetshin, and Siemens Energy Compliance Officer Larisa Potapova to discuss next steps in the development of RECA’s Module 1. They discussed different strategies for delivery of an anti-corruption toolkit for members of the “partner chains” of ABB, Siemens and other multinationals in RECA. We agreed that the delivery should focus on three different types of Russian companies in the partner chain: End-users, System Integrators and Entrepreneurs. The meeting helped to lay groundwork to identify challenges in this process and ways to address them, including by working closely with Russia’s regulatory agencies such as the Federal Antimonopoly Service. ABB and Siemens have agreed to take the lead on the delivery of Module 1.