British breakthrough in banking
published by The Financial Times
Stuart Lawson has been appointed chairman of the executive board of Soyuz Bank in what the company claims to be the first example of a foreigner running a Russian bank that does not have foreign capital.

His nomination represents an attempt by Oleg Deripaska, the politically-influential Russian businessman, to consolidate a range of financial assets he has acquired in recent years and create a regional bank with both corporate and private clients.

Mr Lawson, 50 this year, had previously worked for another of Russia's "oligarchs" - the oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky - as a director of Trust Bank and Menatep St Petersburg.

Soyuz has assets of Rbs40bn (£740m) and reported net earnings of Rbs570m last year. Mr Lawson said Accenture, the consultancy, had been studying the bank during the past three months, and he planned to hire a fresh team to help run operations - though without any other foreigners. "We will build a commercial, retail, corporate and universal bank with a regional presence," he said.

Mr Lawson has worked for Citibank in 10 countries during 25 years - in Moscow during 1995-97 and between 2000 and 2003 for the US Russia Investment Fund and Deltabank. Andrew Jack