In Russia, the family business is viewed as a mafia clan

The main owner of Safmar Group, Mikhail Gutseriev, told Forbes about the principle to let his relatives into the business.
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Until recently, the assets of the group "Safmar" (formerly the group BIN) were divided between you, your younger brother Sait Salam and nephew Mikail Shishkhanov. This year, two more family members became shareholders: your son Said and nephew Bilan Uzhahov. Why did you decide to make them your partners?

They received 10% of shares in our new companies - Eldorado, M.Video and Technosila, which will be merged. While this is a reward for a good job, an advance. We transferred Uzhakhov from the post of head of Russian Coal, and now he works as vice-president of M.Video, the second in the company after [the company's founder, President Alexander] Tynkovan, takes over the experience.

I want in the future, in five years' time, if he deserves it, to make him the general director of [the incorporated company] "Safmar Retail". My son Said - chairman of the board of directors M.Video and Eldorado. This new generation, young people, will invent something new. We have a big sales volume on the Internet.

How many of your close relatives do you have and who of them can claim shares in the group's assets?

We have more than 30 children and nephews. Many of them are still small. We will look at them as they grow older. It is important what kind of education they get, what they will do for the company. Bilan [Uzhahov] for ten years grew into a major manager. They want to do business. And many do not want to. One sports is engaged, the other is an official. Someone does not want to work at all, wants to get up late in the morning. Everything is fine with him - the apartment is there, the dacha is there, he goes to work, gets his $ 10 000, he is happy with it. How can such people be made?

By what principle do you put relatives in business?

The son of Sait-Salam Saad is still small, he just entered economics at Moscow State University. If he gets up early in the morning, go to the gym at 6:00, go to work at 9:00, and leave at one o'clock in the morning, as everyone else does, then we'll see. Suppose Said, my son, works for 16 hours a day. He deserves respect. He now has shares in the oil business - I shared my package with him.

And the rest?

Someone lives abroad, for example in Germany, someone works in a bank in England, and someone in Russia.

Your son Said studied in England, worked in Glencore, nephew Bilan Uzhahov studied at a university in Germany. Why did not they stay to work abroad, as others did?

Said and Bilan really like Russia, and according to our customs the younger sons should live with their mother, that's why they live in Russia. We lived like that, too. My younger brother Sait-Salam lived with his mother in one house until her death.

Which of the relatives do you see as the head of the holding in the future?

I want to work intensively for about ten years, if God gives, that is, health and luck, and retire. Who among the youth by that time will be stronger all the more, he will lead the "Safmar".

Have you studied the experience of the family business of developed countries?

Yes, there the main role is always chosen by the strongest, not the closest relative.

The family business of the Gutserievs will be built according to the Western pattern?

No, what is our family business? In Russia there will never be a family business, because there is no corresponding right, a developed culture, we do not like rich people. At us all is in another way. We look at the family business as a mafia clan.

You are the founder and controlling shareholder of the group "Safmar". Have you ever been accused of having dissolved a mafia clan, that you use your authority in advancing your relatives?

No. We just do not have any high positions or share in business. Everyone works, everyone in his place. We have one for all, all for one. Only so, and nothing else.

There are strict rules that no one can violate. No one has the right to use drugs, abuse alcohol, deal with crime, violate economic and other laws. Everyone should have a good higher education, a strong family and everyone should work from morning till night.

If the Gutserievs are not a family business, then what?

We are a big family, which, even in Moscow, has preserved all the traditions and customs of its ancestors, and at the same time we are moving in the future with the times. Our grandfathers, parents were forcibly evicted to Kazakhstan, repressed, confiscated property, deprived of all rights. But nevertheless parents survived and gave birth to nine children. Then we returned to the Caucasus, home, but because of the revolution in Grozny in 1991, and then the military actions of 1994-2000, we were forced again to leave and move to Moscow. All this was done not by our will, not by our will. But, as you can see, we stick and try to adapt in reality.

And the girls, your daughter and nieces, will work in the group? Do they have a chance to get a share in its assets?

They work, who is in the bank, who is in the trade. They all work in our structures. They will live, I hope, amicably and well.