Deloitte CIS CEO: We expect to continue our revenue growth in Azerbaijan

Trend Agency interview with Deloitte CIS CEO David Owen

David has over twenty years of experience in Consulting with Deloitte in South Africa and the UK. Prior to this he gained nine years experience in industry. He joined Deloitte in South Africa in 1987, becoming a Partner in 1990, and then transferred back to the UK firm in 1994.

Since joining Deloitte he has been involved in some of the firm's most prestigious and important clients as a Consulting Partner, bringing multidisciplinary solutions to a range of leading international companies and public sector organisations.

Q: How do you evaluate Deloitte Azerbaijan's activity in the region, particularly in the Azerbaijani market?

A: We will measure our activity in terms of our market penetration, in terms of our relative competitive position, specifically in Azerbaijan, and then also across the CIS region as a whole. There are different pressures and different dynamics occurring in different marketplaces within the CIS. Good economic momentum is being experienced in Azerbaijan, which is a positive trend and has enabled us to achieve double digit revenue growth over the past several years. And that is certainly something that I am expecting us to continue through this and next year.

Q: What are the major targets for you in the CIS and what are the most in-demand services?

A: The major markets are clearly the bigger economies. Russia is our biggest market, and our biggest business in the CIS is in Russia. At the same time, despite the political complexities that do exist, we have got a significant presence, so significant business in Ukraine, and we have a well-developed and growing business in Kazakhstan. I also regard Azerbaijan as one of our major markets. Our business here has grown really quite significantly, doubling in size in the last three to four years.

In terms of the services that are the most in-demand, as is the case in many other parts of the world, there is limited growth in demand for audit services, but there is quite significant growth in demand for the wider set of advisory services, that is tax and legal services, management consulting services and financial advisory services. So our audit business continues to be very important; however, we have seen more growth in the advisory businesses.

Q: What are the major targets for you in this marketplace and what are the biggest challenges you foresee in achieving them?

A: In this marketplace, in Azerbaijan, we have a very strong position in the financial services arena, so many of the financial services businesses within Azerbaijan are our clients, for both audit and in some cases advisory services as well. Clearly the energy and resources market is a huge one here, and we are looking to make further progress with that and improve our market share within that. We are also very attentive to the telecommunications, media and technology sector. We were very pleased to be appointed recently as the auditor of a global telecommunications company which has a local business here that we are serving. That is another important sector for us. Getting good balance across the major sectors is important to us.

Q: What role can consulting companies play in assisting companies in emerging markets like Azerbaijan to access western capital markets?

A: We have developed a lot of experience over time, both in this region and elsewhere, in helping emerging markets to gain access to western capital. The biggest and most valuable role we play is through giving people assessment of their readiness. Getting the right balance between a real enthusiasm and desire to get access to western capital markets, and the reality of what businesses need to do and the changes they need to go through to be ready and to be acceptable. It is quite significant and quite important, often much more than businesses realise. And part of our role is to give them a very frank and honest assessment of how ready they are or how not ready they are. There are a number of other ways we can help them to navigate through the process.

Q: In terms of corporate governance, what should be done by companies in Azerbaijan to achieve substantial improvement in that regard?

A: This is a journey businesses need to go on. And similar to my point about IPO readiness, I think businesses need to get real, and need to recognise that the international expectations around corporate governance and transparency are very serious and very substantial. I think the best advice we give to people is "you really do need to take it seriously", and that will result in taking action related to things like appointing credible, well equipped, independent non-executive directors to the boards of companies, and surrounding a board structure with properly-equipped and empowered audit committees, risk committees, etc. These are things that international observers would recognise as being the real substance of effective, meaningful corporate governance. So this is a journey that needs to be made, starting with acceptance of "this is very serious and it is not something that can happen overnight, and it is something that will involve some significant change".

Q: Organisations like Deloitte, with deep-rooted history and experience, have a great accumulation of resources and experience. Do you think Deloitte can play an important role in bringing the best practices, advanced knowledge and experience to Azerbaijan?

A: I think there are two things that I would like to comment on. Firstly, we are a huge international organisation, around the whole world we employ in excess of 200,000 people, in a combination of large established western markets and emerging markets. The access that we have to intellectual property, to experience and knowledge, is just enormous.

Secondly, we are a talent business. Therefore, one of our big priorities is to equip our business in order to serve our clients with high caliber talent, which is primarily sourced and developed here in the local market. So it is essential that these two things come together, we have access to enormous intellectual capital and we have access to great talent in this marketplace. So we play a big role in training, educating, developing people, and then equip them to put this internationally-accessible knowledge and expertise to good effect.

Q: Azerbaijan is reforming its education system. Do you face challenges in finding and recruiting the right talent? How does Deloitte contribute towards increasing the level of professional education in Azerbaijan?

A: There are two or three aspects to this. I absolutely applaud what the country is doing in terms of seeking to enhance its education system. And I also recognise that we, as a talent-based business, have a role to play, both in supporting that and also in providing people with the professional and work experience that will put that enhanced education to the very best effect. On a practical level we are directly involved with a number of university activities in this country. Just yesterday I was at ADA, presenting to a group of very impressive young MBA students, talking about leadership. A number of my colleagues are actively involved directly and indirectly in supporting activities such as that. What is being done is very important, and what we are doing and what we will continue to do is to support it actively, and also represent a destination for high caliber talent that demonstrates today's successful track record in educational achievement.

Q: In the last 25 years the global economy has changed, and it now looks very different from half a century ago. Does today's environment require greater leadership skills?

A: I don't think it necessarily requires greater leadership skills, it requires different leadership skills. Probably the simplest way to respond to it is to shift from people being instructed to do things by management to a situation where they are being empowered to do things by leadership. This is just a change in philosophy, a change in priority in terms of direct management and inspirational leadership. We do need a combination of managerial and leadeship skills.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Georgia to highly benefit from Turkish medicines – ministry
Georgia to highly benefit from Turkish medicines – ministry
Georgia reports new record high COVID-19 cases
Georgia reports new record high COVID-19 cases
Georgia’s Poti FIZ eyes launching new projects in 2022
Georgia’s Poti FIZ eyes launching new projects in 2022
Loading Bars
Latest
Georgia to highly benefit from Turkish medicines – ministry
Azerbaijani First VP Mehriban Aliyeva congratulates Fatma Sattarova on 100th birthday anniversary (PHOTO)
Kazakhstan taking measures to eliminate accident that caused power outage – KEGOC
Russian company acquires stake in Uzbek cement plant
Loan portfolio of banks increases in Azerbaijan
Georgia reports new record high COVID-19 cases
Georgia’s Poti FIZ eyes launching new projects in 2022
Electricity supply facing security challenges, requires multiple services
Azerbaijani Defense Minister's visit to Iran starts
Kyrgyzstan’s Bishkek experiencing power outages across entire city
Azerbaijan’s role in solving global problems is growing - Analysis
Azerbaijan organizes movement of working trains on Zangazur corridor (PHOTO)
Kazakhstan Deposits Insurance Fund raises maximum recommended rates on deposits
Uzbekistan’s Tashkent Metro suspends operations
Kazakhstan reports large-scale electricity power outage in Almaty
ADB and Turkmenistan working on SME exporters’ project
Azerbaijani currency rates for January 25
Uzbekistan shares data on sectors driving GDP growth
Kazakhstan appoints chairman of Central Election Commission
Azerbaijan's export-import operations up in 11M2021 - WB
Georgia increases food safety system backed by EU
TPPs to play less role in flexible power system, says IEA
ITACA Training and Research Center opened at Baku Higher Oil School (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani AzFinance company’s bonds listed on Baku Stock Exchange
Azerbaijan opens criminal investigation against 297 Armenian citizen involved in war crimes
Iran's TEDPIX records drop
OSCE PA representatives to visit Kazakhstan
Oil prices rebound as growing geopolitical tensions fuel supply fears
FMs of Turkmenistan and Pakistan talk preparations for session of OIC Ministerial Council
Iranian currency rates for January 25
FMs of India and Turkmenistan talk wide range of issues of bilateral relations
Bhavish Aggarwal-led Ola Electric valuation tops $5 bn with $200 mn funding
Iran is likely to have direct talks with US - Iranian FM
Iran plans to reopen closed production factories
Azerbaijani, Iranian delegations jointly visit Azerbaijan's liberated areas
Trade turnover between Kazakhstan, Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan revelead
TBC Capital updates its forecast for economic growth in Georgia for 2022
Turkmen Health Ministry opens tender for purchase of medicine
Russia's Azimuth Airline launches direct flights to Azerbaijan
S.Korea's daily COVID count tops 8,000 for first time amid Omicron spread
Announcement of 2022 as "Year of Shusha" in Azerbaijan by President Ilham Aliyev is celebration for all Azerbaijanis - Famous composer
No decision by Iran on direct talks with US - FM
Austria and Turkmenistan to intensify their dialogue and cooperation in 2022-2023
9,016 new COVID-19 cases confirmed last 24 hours
NASA's new space telescope reaches destination in solar orbit
Indian firm gets foothold in prized global ‘kamikaze’ and armed drones market
Heavy snowfall cripples life in Istanbul amid safety warnings
At least six killed in Cameroon stadium stampede
India needs an atmanirbhar electric vehicle supply chain before invites to Tesla
U.S. Navy pilot ejects, 7 hurt in F-35 South China Sea 'landing mishap'
Centurion tank, other weapons used in 1965 & 1971 to add historical flavour to 26 Jan parade in India
Assange wins right to appeal extradition to U.S.
Over 45 countries expected to participate in multilateral exercise Milan in 2022: Indian Navy
Burkina Faso army deposes president in West Africa's latest coup
Istanbul Airport suspends all flights amid heavy snowfall
India attends informal WTO meet to take stock of negotiations
Explosion kills 6 in southern Somalia
Country calmly to pass current winter season - Ukrainian president
Republic Day parade in India to showcase old, new era of Army
Georgia names main goods imported from Uzbekistan
Kyrgyzstan enters top 10 trade partners of Uzbekistan
Current situation in Ukraine is under control - Zelensky
Iran, Uzbekistan emphasize boosting customs cooperation
Gov’t to set up commission for project of Georgian cultural centre in Jordan
PM of Ukraine says no threats to functioning of national economy
Armenia sincerely wishes to normalize relations with Turkey - Nikol Pashinyan
Armenia ready to sign peace agreement with Azerbaijan - Pashinyan
Sudan security forces fire tear gas on protesters
Launch of Baku-Shusha bus route of particular importance for Shusha city - Special Representative of Azerbaijani President
Azerbaijan talks applications received by SMB Development Agency on creating business in liberated lands
Uzbekistan working to establish power supply in Tashkent region
Azerbaijan discloses annual turnover growth of E-PUL payment system for 2021
Price indexes of financial, construction sectors at Uzbek stock exchange fall
Toyota Caucasus becomes member of Business Association of Georgia
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 757 more COVID-19 cases, 302 recoveries
Turkmen livestock complex in Akhal region names volume of production
Uzbek company reveals volume of exports to French Bonduelle
Bank of Georgia supports new tower construction in Tbilisi
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to rise
Azerbaijan sees growth in local banks' total assets in 2021
Azerbaijan unveils number of businesses affected during second Karabakh war (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan's monetary base increases in 2021
Iran shares value of shrimp exports
Azerbaijan’s Small and Medium Business Development Agency discloses number of start-up certificates issued in 2021
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev sends congratulatory letter to chairperson of Organization of War, Labor and Armed Forces Veterans
Central Bank of Iran shares data on country’s foreign debts
Iran sees increase in liquidity
Azerbaijani Small & Medium Business Dev't Agency talks about its activities in 2021
Serbian deputy PM to visit Azerbaijan
EU regulator set to rule on Pfizer COVID pill by end-Jan, ahead of Merck
Kazakhstan records decrease in annual inflation in December 2021
Low-carbon transition pressures to accelerate in 2022
Iran unveils volume of electricity generated by Esfahan TPP
Capital of Iran’s Bank Mellat soars
Uzbekistan sees increase in newly created enterprises
IOM talks about areas of cooperation with Turkmenistan in 2022
Luxembourg’s SES S.A. continues steps within Kazakhstan’s state program foe economy dev't
Croatia to send three delegations to Azerbaijan
Luxembourg’s SES S.A. to launch satellites to boost internet speed in Kazakhstan
All news