OREANDA-NEWS. Sberbank, Association of Independent Directors, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, and PwCdiscussed development challenges facing the institute of independent directors in Russia.

Bella Zlatkis, Deputy Chairwoman of the Executive Board of Sberbank, pointed out that "The key role of boards of directors and independent directors in the work of companies, and especially in making effective and timely decisions, is obvious. The role of independent directors is an entirely professional one. Today a balanced risk management system, which is implemented and managed by a board of directors through a committee for managing risk that is led by an independent director, is absolutely critical for all companies in the banking sector.

"This year we analysed the composition of boards of directors at major Russian companies. We were interested in how current political and economic factors have influenced boards of directors and the institute of independent directors," said Alexander Ikonnikov, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Association of Independent Directors, presenting the study "Professional Portrait of an Independent Director".

Alexander Shokhin, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs President, said "Manifestations of crisis in the economy, increasingly difficult access to financing, sanctions, a trend of local listings and registration; these and other circumstances may lead to companies reducing corporate management standards. But it is important to note that dips in economic activity, which are a natural part of the economic cycle, are inevitably followed by rebounds. Ideally, by the time growth returns companies will be ready, including in terms of compliance with best practices of corporate management, since in a competitive environment time spent on achieving the required level may be lost forever."

Igor Lotakov, Managing Director, PwC in Russia, said "Today when Russian companies encounter new challenges, questions of corporate management are not pushed aside, but rather given more attention. Shareholders, investors and company management understand that quality corporate management leads to stable growth of the value of the business owing to increased transparency and manageability of the business, increasing efficiency of the process of making key management decisions, reducing financial and non-financial risks of the company, and improving its reputation in the eyes of key interested parties and the business community."

"In this regard, for us it is very important to recognize directors who have made major contributions to the development of Russian corporate management. This is why for the fourth consecutive year we have prepared a ranking of leading professionals in the area of corporate management. The ranking allows shareholders, companies, and the business community to learn about leading independent directors," said Alexander Ikonnikov.

The rankings: "50 Best Independent Directors", "25 Best Chairmen of the Board" and "25 Best Corporate Secretaries" were prepared by the Association of Independent Directors, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, and PwC. From July, 2015 until September, 2015 more than 150 applications submitted by companies and candidates were processed and compiled by the organizers based on information about the activities of boards of directors of major Russian companies from the First Level of the quotation list of the Moscow Exchange.

The methodology used to compile the rankings considered the following indicators: total work experience in roles on boards of directors, as representatives of advisory boards, and heads of committees; work experience in companies listed in Russia or abroad; and work experience at companies with a high level of capitalization. Candidates' contributions to developing corporate management in Russia were also considered (awards received for corporate management, invitations to speak at conferences etc.). Verification of the results on a selective basis was carried out by PwC.