Rusneftegaz marked the end of an eventful year by hosting an annual awards ceremony for all those who have made an outstanding contribution to our development over the past twelve months. The event took place last Friday in Moscow, where we were joined by a large contingent of executives and dignitaries who have been instrumental in our recent transformation. After the appointment of a new board of directors in February, during which four of the five members were replaced, the incoming leadership quickly revised our corporate strategy to further our ambitions for the next ten years. Principally, this included an express desire to expand our operations internationally, with our organization undertaking measures to ensure this is realized as soon as it is practical to do so. As a result, we have been actively engaged in negotiations across a plethora of nations in both the Middle East and North Africa, namely Algeria, Egypt and Iran. Whilst we believe that such talks shall be fruitful in the immediate future, all these discussions would not have been possible without an extraordinary effort from many of our personnel, who were all rewarded on the night itself for their endeavors. That evening, our Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Aleksandr Filyurin, delivered the following remarks in response:
“Firstly, the board and I would like to place on record our congratulations to all the winners of these awards, I think it is important to recognize what our staff have achieved over the past year, and I think that this is one of the most effective ways of doing so. I would also like to thank all the staff I have met since I joined Rusneftegaz, each of them has been very welcoming, and I have been impressed by their commitment and work ethic. We have obviously come here with big plans for the future, and I am confident that all our staff are capable of helping us execute these plans. It is a very exciting time to be here. We are having great success with our international expansion, and we are also looking at making large investments in key areas of our current business. It is not an unrealistic prospect that Rusneftegaz will have been completely transformed in the next five years. I know that this company has tried to expand before, and there are still some employees that remember what happened, but this time we are going to do things very differently. We are going to be strategic and conduct research before we make any big commitments, and we will prosper in the future because of what we are doing now.”
Although there were many worthy contenders, the major prizewinners were Lavrenti Voronin and Fedor Sokolovsky, who were named as employee and young employee of the year respectively. As one of the few French-speakers working for us, the former has been particularly vital in our efforts to enter the Algerian market, arranging a formal dialogue with both their government and companies that operate in the region. In contrast, the latter has emerged as one of our leading commodities traders over the past twelve months, despite only being recruited last year. As such, he is the youngest to have ever held such a role in the history of our enterprise, and this award is a testament to both his intellect and dedication to the role. On a more serene note, we also collectively paid tribute to our highly respected colleague Dmitriy Korolev, who unexpectedly died seven weeks ago at the age of fifty-three. He was widely admired by his friends at Rusneftegaz, where he enjoyed a career spanning over a decade and will be sorely missed by us all. Such tragic events act as a reminder as to why it is always crucial to acknowledge the success of each member of our workforce, and we will do our utmost to do so for the foreseeable future.