The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Samruk: the outsider’s inside story

Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has decreed the creation of a state holding company, roughly on Singaporean/Malaysian lines, to oversee and rationalize the country’s lucrative but inchoate collection of state-owned companies and foster corporate governance. A British corporate warhorse, Sir Richard Evans, has been hired to pull the operation together. Eric Ellis reports on a confrontation of cultures.

Q&A with Richard Evans, Chairman of Samruk Holdings: “Our mandate is to make two and two add up to more than four”


A BROAD CAROLINAS accent drawls out across the conference rooms of the Radisson Hotel in Kazakhstan’s new capital, Astana. The American is teaching the basics of corporate governance to a seminar of youthful managers at Kazakhstan’s just-born $40 billion state holding company, Samruk. Some are so young they have acne. "Guys, this part is important!"

The lecturer is a bald late-career consultant from Ernst & Young, doing his bit for post-Soviet reform and, doubtless, per his generous fee for this hardship post, his retirement fund. His frustrated southern twangs are translated into Russian, still the lingua franca here despite 17 years of Kazakh-led independence, and a reminder that Moscow’s powerful bear still lingers covetously in the background here. "There are internal controls," he spells out, "risk management...." The Samruk executives scribble his western wisdom into their notepads.

As the young Samrukis are coming to learn, good book-keeping matters in capitalism. But so does keeping warm on the central Asian steppe, where outside the cosy classroom Astana is a snowbound 25 below zero.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree