With President Vladimir Putin back in the Kremlin and Russia in pursuit of a leading economic role on the world stage, the organizers of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum are showcasing the country this year through the theme "Leadership That Works."
In the run-up to the forum, The Moscow Times contacted some of the biggest business leaders working in Russia to ask what they think makes leadership work, as well as to hear their insights into where the country's business climate is headed and which areas of the economy or society demand the most urgent improvements.
Director, Ferrero Russia & CIS, an Italian confectionary with a factory in the Vladimir region
Q: What makes leadership work?
A: You have to provide an example. The leader must be the example, the icon to look to. The person who is an example can really drive the company. Leadership also works if you empower people. You don't have to be a dictator. The leadership of the last century was directive. But in this age, the leadership secret is to empower people. You should use teamwork — but empowered teamwork. Finally, you must have values and principles; without them you can do absolutely nothing in the world. If you do these things, you are a leader.
Q: Where is Russia's business climate headed?
A: Stability in any country is always going to help business. So if you have political stability, and you have the tremendous natural resources that you have in Russia, you are going to have good business.
Q: What area would you most like to see improvement in, and how would you recommend improving it?
A: Investment in infrastructure — if you invest, you will have growth for the next 10 years. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower launched the interstate highway system, and that provided so many jobs and so much growth to the economy. If Russia worked on its infrastructure, that would provide so much growth and job creation. The country would flourish if infrastructure were developed.