On 10 November 2011, at the IX special ceremony held in the Reception House of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alfa-Bank and the Said Business School at Oxford University announced the recipient of the annual Award for Excellence in Foreign Investment in Russia. The winner must have had a significant positive effect on the country as demonstrated by the size of its investment and number of jobs created; an excellent record of business practice; and a commitment to long-term operations in Russia. This year the award has gone to Unilever.
The International Selection Committee for the Alfa Banking Group Award for Foreign Investment in Russia included: Petr Aven, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Alfa Banking Group; Richard Burt, Former US Ambassador to Germany and Senior Adviser for Kissinger McLarty Associates; and Dana Brown, Associate Fellow at Oxford Universitys Said Business School Lecturer.
In announcing the Award, Petr Aven, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Alfa Banking Group, said:
«Russia needs investments and good investors, not merely for the money — which we have thanks to high prices of natural resources — but because Russia needed them, especially in the first years of its economic development, and needs them now in the civilized business environment. The companies coming to work in Russia are examples of successful business models. Unilever has seven manufacturing sites, all of which operate efficiently and successfully, and therefore our choice was quite natural.»
On behalf of Unilever, the award was received by Sanjjv Kakkar, Chairman of Unilever Russia, Ukraine and Belarus:
«It is a great honor for me to receive this award as an acknowledgement of our weighty contribution to the development of the Russian economy, and I am genuinely glad that our active work in Russia has been noted and appreciated at its true value. In October 2011, Unilever announced its acquisition of an 82% stake in Kalina Concern, the leading Russian manufacturer of cosmetics. At the same time, we signed our next agreement for cooperation in investments with the governor of the Tula region to expand production of an all-purpose foodstuff manufacturing complex.»
This years speaker was Sir Gordon Brown, British Prime Minister in 2007–2010.
Mikhail Fridman, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Alfa Group Consortium and Member of the Board of Directors at Alfa-Bank:
«Every time we decide whom to invite to make the event as interesting as possible, it is important to consider the country represented by the speaker. We believe that Sir Gordon Brown represents a country with which Russia has complex and interesting relations. English political and economic thought has always been a dominant factor in the development of mankind. Our countries are linked with longstanding relations that cannot be called cloudless, but they are bright and emotional. I have always admired the fundamental principles and rules followed by British businessmen and the public as a whole in policy, business and life.»
The speakers at the awards ceremony have traditionally been well-known political and public figures, including former British Prime Minister John Major (2005), former German Vice Chancellor Joschka Fisher (2006), former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (2007), former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (2008), former US Senator Charles Hagel (2009) and Czech President Vaclav Klaus (2010).
Previous recipients of the award include Procter & Gamble (2003), Nestle (2004), United Technologies (2005), Deutsche Bank AG (2006), General Motors (2007), Intel (2008), McDonalds (2009) and Danone (2010).
The ceremony was attended by heads of ministries and departments, foreign ambassadors, and over 100 directors of large Russian and foreign companies.