“As compliance practitioners, we had to go through a major shift recently with going online, which is quite a new thing in our sector,” says Timur Khasanov–Batirov, Head of Compliance, Russia & CIS at the STADA Group.
“It’s two different universes for us," Khasanov–Batirov says. "You have to deliver your message to many people who aren’t around you. It’s still hard to tell which one I’d prefer, but we are getting used to this, nonetheless."
"Another thing GC’s have to deal with is managing people, but I never felt like that was much of a challenge, and that hasn’t changed for me,” Khasanov-Batirov says. He believes that, contrary to popular belief, productivity has increased under the "new normal." According to him, "we now have to structure our work, and we need a fast and organized decision-making process, with no time wasted. That led to more productivity and greater efficiency since the new way of working was introduced.”
Khasanov-Batirov says that the beginning of the year was good for the pharmaceutical industry because people increased their purchases of medicines when they realized a health emergency was about to strike. “That trend stopped soon, once everybody filled their shelves, and the demand for medicine came to a visible slowdown.” He concludes that both the buyers and the employees needed time to adapt to the situation, but are now more used to it, and he believes that “things are getting back on track.”
The biggest challenge for compliance practitioners is to comply with a lot of anti-corruption issues that recently came up, Khasanov–Batirov says, "but the challenge came mostly from the fact that we needed to comply while completely changing the way we work.” Another challenge compliance counsels face, he says, regardless of the sector they are working in, is how to extract the necessary information when you are faced with the dozens of new pieces of legislation that are constantly appearing on the horizon. He argues that the way to deal with this is “to focus and try to find the red flags and realize what is relevant. This prevents a cluster from forming and makes lives easier.”
Khasanov-Batirov agrees with the conviction among many GCs working in CEE that their work has now become less about “lawyering” and has become more business-oriented, and he reports that “nobody needs the same kind of a General Counsel that was operating in 2005." According to him, "of course, you have to use your legal background, but the focus has now shifted towards business development, risk management, and so on. I realized that I needed to make that shift some seven years ago, and now I’m used to it and prepared for the challenges. Now, my team and I are helping others overcome the issues and make themselves ready for the new needs of a highly competitive market.”