Dmitriy Leikin 

Managing Director, Capital Service Group





Dmitry, please tell us about your work now involves. How is it different from your work when you were at KPMG?

I'm a managing director at a company that makes and distributes food products in the Volga Region, the Central Federal District, Southern Russia and the Urals. The main difference from my work at KPMG is that the work schedule and routine are less hectic. You don't lose time on drafting proposals, preparing presentations or risk management. To implement an idea, you just need to hold one or two meetings, discuss all the pros and cons, throw together an action plan and set about putting it into practice. You have more responsibilities. On the minus side, there are fewer sources of information: you can't ask your colleagues from another department, there are no databases, etc.

Which of the engagements you worked on at KPMG do you remember most?

Probably an engagement with TechnoNICOL, a major European manufacturer of roofing, waterproofing and insulating materials. It was an integrated transformation project involving the development of a strategy, structure (management and tax), processes and motivation. We dealt directly with the shareholders –very interesting people. We're still working with them.

What brought you to the Capital Service Group?

First and foremost, the opportunity to apply my knowledge and gain real management experience. The difference between "manage" and "advise how to manage" has turned out to be quite substantial.

Why do you like your job?

Because I see the results of my work and have the opportunity for personal fulfilment, and the work-life balance is ideal.

What difficulties are there in your profession?

It's hard to pick out any specific difficulties. According to one survey, company bosses solve challenges or problems every 9-15 minutes. They come up all the time; some are more important, others less. They all have to be solved.

Do you think the current state of the market favours business growth?

It depends which business. The FMCG market in general, and for food products in particular, can expect to face a serious examination following Russia's entry into the WTO. Concentration is intensifying, competition is increasing, and networks are getting greater negotiating power. Every year it gets a little bit harder. On the other hand, there are plenty of ways to influence marginal profit –brand management, working on recipes, merchandising, trade promotions, transport and warehouse logistics, and so on. The more tools you have, the easier it is to stand out from your competitors.

What qualities does a managing director need to have?

The main quality is caring about your employees. I think that applies to any manager, not just managing directors. Only then can you expect your employees to support you and try to do their job as well as possible.

You've written a book on business. What is it about, and who might find it useful?

The book is called "Key aspects of managing a group of companies". It's about the role of the head office, how it needs to manage business units, and what it ought and ought not to do. The book is aimed at managers and senior executives of management companies. It may also be useful to consultants on these issues.

Are you planning to write anything else?

Not yet, I don't have that much time.

In 2010, you studied at the Booth School of Business –what in? Was it a useful experience?

It was an accelerated course –5 or 6 key modules from the Executive MBA in half a year. It was definitely a useful experience, but there's not much chance of me doing an MBA.

What advice can you give to young people who are just starting their career?

I would advise them to develop qualities of character. –the ability to listen, to care about your subordinates, not to criticise your boss behind their back, to think, speak and act consistently, to have a positive mindset, and to be able to take lessons from any situation. Experience and education are important, but they aren't the main thing when it comes to recruitment. It's been said that people join companies, but leave managers. You could also say that companies hire people because of their experience and knowledge, but more often than not let them go because of qualities of character. I believe that everyone ultimately ends up in a position befitting those qualities.