“ Ukraine has to build the reputation of the country as a reliable place to do business. ”
Igor Mazepa, an investment banker, CEO and Owner of Concorde Capital investment company (Kyiv, Ukraine, talks about his rules of doing business in an interview with the Forbes Ukraine.
Do you regard investment banking your lifework?
The world is rapidly changing. I may turn out to do something completely different in 10-15 years, which it is quite possible.
Did you get another university degree at a mature age?
I gain knowledge every day by communicating with different people. I hold a degree from Kyiv Vadym Hetman National Economic University. This is probably one of the best Soviet-style universities in Ukraine. But I have seen what kind of education people get abroad. The knowledge provided here can hardly be considered a success factor.
Are you involved in recruiting your team members?
I try to take part in the final job interview with every candidate. Concorde Capital employs about 50 people at the headquarters. If you have the best team, but there is a person who can be rude to clients, all your efforts will come to naught.
What values do you pursue at Concorde Capital?
Our values are leadership, freedom, creativity, and focus on results. Yet, we do not count a result achieved without satisfaction.
Why would you fire your best manager?
For theft. Once we had a trader with sticky fingers. It took us two seconds to fire him.
Is it okay to do business with friends?
I have many examples when business partners are my friends. This rules out any distrust. Everything else depends on the expertise and understanding of the market.
What deal was the most successful, in your view?
The best deal was to sell a bank much more expensive above the client's expectations. Anatoliy Hirschfeld once approached us, asking to help him sell the bank. We advised him to increase capital, raise debt, and sell the bank with an extended balance sheet. The final value was hundreds of millions of US dollars.
How do you feel about risk?
My attitude toward risk analysis was changing as I gained more experience. When dealing with money, you always try to figure out what could go wrong. When you are young, you expect two or three scenarios. As you get more experience, you start to consider many more scenarios.
Why Igor Mazepa continues doing business in Ukraine?
The modern world has become simple in terms of access to information, so it does not matter where your physical location is. Moreover, I think Kyiv is the most comfortable and brightest city to live in.
How do you spend your day?
I am alone in the morning, doing sports or yoga. The commotion starts somewhere between
10-11 a.m. till late at night. I can work on weekends and take a rest on weekdays, for example, go mountain trekking or fishing.
Why do you go in for sports?
Sport for me is a way to deal with stress. I do sports five or six hours a week. Extreme activities and travels broaden the worldview a lot. I have long participated in marathons, Ironman, and cross-country skiing. I go hiking with my team. I have noticed that my colleagues became calmer and the hectic atmosphere disappeared after the last outing.
Is the life of a Ukrainian investment banker similar to that in The Wolf of Wall Street movie?
Sex, drugs, parties? To certain extent. This is true for all creative industries one way or another. But I personally have never taken any "chemistry".
Concorde Capital CEO Igor Mazepa shared his views with the Forbes Ukraine.
Copyright © 2018 Igor Mazepa