“Risk management is not just a tick-the-box exercise”

Top risk manager shares his story and approach to the craft

“Risk management is not just a tick-the-box exercise”

Risk Management News

By Gabriel Olano

Even the best had to start somewhere. That adage applies to Mikhail Fedorov (pictured), who was named a finalist for risk manager of the year at the 2018 European Risk Management Awards.

Less than a decade before he was nominated, Fedorov found his way into the risk management profession by chance.

“In 2009, I was working as a consultant with Accenture when I was asked to participate in a casting for a big enterprise risk management (ERM) implementation for an oil company in Kuwait,” Fedorov told Corporate Risk and Insurance. “As a result, I was selected and spent more than a year in the Middle East doing two ERM projects. After that, I moved to Kazakhstan doing GRC projects as part of a big transformational program for a mining and metals company.”

Following several shorter projects in Moscow for oil and energy companies, Fedorov relocated to Bahrain as a consultant with Marsh. However, the stint was cut short by political unrest in the region.

“The Arab Spring made me move back to Russia, where I joined Gazprom as a risk management specialist,” he said. “Soon after that, I was promoted to manager, and then to head of risk management. We did many wonderful projects during my seven years with Gazprom, but finally I decided to make a change and joined Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) again in Kazakhstan. My scope includes internal control as well as risk management.”

In 2018, Fedorov was one of the three finalists for risk manager of the year at the 2018 European Risk Management Awards.

“For being nominated… I need to say my thanks to RusRisk, the Russian Risk Management Society,” he said. “Earlier that year, I received the national risk manager of the year award from them, which entitled me to be nominated by RusRisk as a candidate for the European award. It was up to an independent panel to judge applicants through the essays and other materials provided by national associations. I was named a finalist along with two colleagues from Airbus and Siemens, and I consider it very honourable.”

According to Fedorov, there are two major challenges related to risk management in any company, and both of them are about competency levels.

“For risk managers, it is about lack of knowledge and experience, and it can be solved by training and coaching on the job,” he said. “As for top management, it is more about the company culture and tone from the top. It is not easy to address the matter at this level. The only way is to constantly deliver something useful and value-added – proving that risk management is not just a tick-the-box exercise.”

Fedorov advised his fellow risk management professionals to continue learning new things, but remain focused on what’s important.

“Avoid oversimplified approaches and instead, go directly into decision analysis, reliability management, project management best practices (such as cost and schedule risk analysis) or insurance – whatever is critical for the business you are in,” he said. “Do not disperse your efforts into many things but try to focus on what really matters for the company bottom-line and listen to the people who know the business better.”

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