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FT Interview: Maxim Barsky

The FT has published its interview with Maxim Barsky, who joined TNK-BP last year to take up what Robert Dudley called ‘the most difficult job in the world‘, tasked with the challenge of reducing the company’s bureaucracy and refreshing the management structure.  But he hasn’t had much luck.  His story illustrates TNK-BP shareholders’ close and persistent involvement in company decisions, and suggests that they either revolutionize management, or sacrifice clarity on broader business aims.  
Mr Barsky believes the management structure needs to change. Until now, the model was based on equal representation of shareholders not just on the board but also in the management. The result is “lots of inefficiencies and bureaucracies”.

“Every decision has to go through the shareholders … You double your time for any decision,” he adds. […] Despite the turbulent past two years, Mr Barsky believes the current shareholder structure is sustainable, with BP pro viding technical expertise and support coming from the Russians. But he repeats his plea for more independence, noting “shareholders need to decide whether they are ready to live with an independent management”.