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Aug 02, 2010

New man at Severstal plans fresh approach to IR

Head of IR Vladimir Zaluzhsky wants the company to be more proactive in its investor communications

Steel and mining company Severstal has brought in Vladimir Zaluzhsky as its new head of investor relations, where he has responsibility for communications with investors and financial analysts.

Zaluzhsky joins the Russian company from Mint Capital, a Scandinavian private equity fund. Prior to this, he worked at Mechel, another Russian steel and mining company. He has also held positions at communications firms Delovaya Liga and ETC Partners.

‘I wanted to move back to industry; it’s something I’m very passionate about,’ Zaluzhsky tells IR magazine. ‘It’s also very easy to sell to your audience, be it investors, analysts or journalists. You take the guys to see the assets and explain how it works. It’s not like when you are in an investment company and are trying to sell something abstract.

‘The company is in very good shape. It just hasn’t been very active in terms of investor relations. It was more reactive in style. I think the market has been waiting for us to be more decisive in our communications.’

He cites BASF, the German chemicals company that won the grand prix at the IR Magazine Europe Awards 2010, as a company with an investor relations department he would like to emulate.

Zaluzhsky’s educational background includes graduating from the Moscow State Linguistic University and the Finance Academy under the Government of the Russian Federation. He originally planned to use his linguistic skills to join the military or secret service, before someone suggested he try a job in public relations. Currently, he is working on finishing a post-graduate course at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

Severstal is listed in Russia and through global depositary receipts on the London Stock Exchange. The company is majority-owned by CEO Alexey Mordashov, with institutional investors and employees owning around 18 percent of the share capital. The majority of the free float is held by investors in London.

Another reason for joining Severstal is the opportunity to work under Mordashov, says Zaluzhsky. ‘He has a very big profile in Russia that extends beyond steel and mining,’ he explains. ‘He combines the roles of founder, major shareholder and chief executive officer very well.’