Dmitri Trifonov is a PhD candidate at Higher School of Economics (Moscow). His research interests concern the corporate sector of Russia. His PhD dissertation is devoted to the economic effects of informal connections between Russian corporations and the authorities. His PhD defense is held on June 6, 2022
BOARD INDEPENDENCE IN RUSSIAN SOEs: THE EFFECT OF INSTITUTIONAL INNOVATIONS
The study is devoted to the problem of board independence applied to Russian state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The problem is considered in light of the attempt to reform corporate governance in Russian SOEs undertaken in the late 2000s. By analyzing the board composition of Russia’s 16 largest SOEs in 2008—2016, the study attempts to evaluate (1) what impact the reforms had on the board independence of Russian SOEs, and (2) to what extent independent directors of Russian SOEs were truly independent of the state (i.e. the majority shareholder). The board independence was assessed comprehensively. The study shows that the reform had
an ambiguous effect. On the one hand, the reform made the boards less dependent on the state, and fostered the development of the institution of independent directors. On the other hand, the reform made the boards of directors more dependent on other large shareholders. Consequently, the total level of board independence has not changed after the reform, and at least 37% of board members in Russian SOEs remained affiliated with one or another large shareholder both in 2008 and in 2016.