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Monday, 30 December 2013 12:23

Bakcell desires to be a globally competitive company - Richard Shearer, Chief Executive Officer of Bakcell

“There is a huge potential of young professionals in Azerbaijan.  They are very committed to learn new technologies and be a part of the global competitiveness in all spheres of business. Bakcell pays special attention for professional development of young people in Azerbaijan.  Bakcell offers its employees various training and development opportunities”, Richard Shearer, Chief Executive Officer of Bakcell  said in his exclusive interview withFirst Class – CEO  Journal.

First Class – CEO Journal (FC)What is the basic package of services provided by your Company? How does the level of your services comply with international requirements?

Richard Shearer, Chief Executive Officer of Bakcell: Bakcell desires to be a globally competitive company and increasingly cooperating with international companies and agencies to bring new technology and new applications to Azerbaijan to develop the market and enhance its customer experience further. Telecomunications industry is a global business and the ecosystem surrounding major telecoms providers such as Bakcell involves business from many countries. Bakcell has relationships with many overseas suppliers from software, to hardware to services.  The Company has created environment to attract both national and expat professionals who is able actively contribute towards the goals and objectives of Bakcell.



FC: Could you, please, tell how successfully is 4G service being introduced now?

Richard Shearer: We have demonstrated LTE (4G) service in our current network. This shows that Bakcell is ready to launch the service in the country. I would say that application of 4G service depends on availability of relevant frequencies and at present, the frequencies allocated to Bakcell by the MCIT (Regulator) are used by another mobile operator. In order to launch LTE services, we need to wait for another operator to vacatethese frequencies. I would also mention that currently, there are very few mobile devices in Azerbaijan that support 4G technology. If the number of such devices increases, Bakcell will launch4G services commercially and we will bring the speed and service quality of Sur@ to high speed internet services using LTE. And since the majority of devices available on the market and used by subscribers support 3G, we are currently focused on widening the availability and appeal of this service.

FC: How many employees do you have? How would you evaluate professionalism of Azerbaijan specialists?

Richard Shearer: We have around 1000 employees. There is a huge potential of young professionals in Azerbaijan.  They are very committed to learn new technologies and be a part of the global competitiveness in all spheres of business. Bakcell pays special attention for professional development of young people in Azerbaijan.  Bakcell offers its employees various training and development opportunities. Job-related courses are taken for the purpose of improving the level of skills and knowledge, in preparation for performing existing duties and responsibilities related to position. We have invested more than 2 million manats to professional development of our employees this year.

We are implementing Bakcell Graduate program at key universities of Azerbaijan which aims at selecting students with high intellect and academic talent among senior year, undergraduate and postgraduate students for the role of Bakcell’s graduates in the field of Technology, Marketing, Sales and Finance. Along with it, Bakcell has more than 100 fresh graduates during the last three years.


FC: How would you evaluate the activity of the Caspian-European Integration Business Club (CEIBC)?

Richard Shearer: Bakcell representatives attend regular meetings of the CEIBC. I think these meetings are very useful in terms of building cooperation with a lot organizations and starting of new partnerships.


FC: Where were you born and where did you get your education?

Richard Shearer: I am English and I studied in England. I was born in Sunderland, which is in the North East of England. I am professionally qualified accountant. I went to university in England and all of my formative years I spent in my own country. I started to travel when I was 20. I went to college in Liverpool.


FC: What do you think of charity activities? Should companies and their owners, in your opinion, take active part in this issue or it is up to the government to settle problems of low-income people?

Richard Shearer: I think big brands have an obligation to contribute to society more than just through the services that they provide.

We have a very active corporate social responsibility program - Bakcell Stars. This programs supports children in need and disadvantaged communities. We cooperate with humanitarian organizations in order to bring programs around education, child development and using and accessing the internet.

And going forward we have a large and significant partnership with an English football club Manchester United which is the world`s biggest club, so a lot of activity we focus on sport and using sport for development of disadvantaged children.



FC: How many hours a day do you work? How do you prefer spending you free time?

Richard Shearer: Too many. I guess between 10 and 12. I try not to work at the weekends. 10 or 12 hours less sleep is not much free time. I am currently renovating my house in London, so all of my free time is spent talking to contractors, architects, designers, planners and that is taking  all of my free time at the moment.


FC: Which feature of your character do you dislike most of all?

Richard Shearer: Only thing is English people are very bad in foreign languages. So I`ve lived all over the world, but I speak only English. I speak a bit of American, a bit of Australian, a bit of South African, but basically they all are English.



FC: What features do you highly appreciate in men and women?

Richard Shearer: I think honesty, integrity, people who work hard, people who know what they want. Other thing is a sense of humor. The world would be a miserable place if anybody didn`t smile.



FC: Could you, please, tell the kitchen of which countries do you like most of all? What are your favorite meals?

Richard Shearer: My main home is in Italy, I enjoy Italian food. At the same time I really enjoy burgers.  After that I really enjoy “Kabab”, I mean Azerbaijani cuisine. I have been in some different regions and tasted different foods. I like the cuisine in summer more than in winter, the salads and everything.



FC: How much time do you spend with your family? How many children do you have and where are they getting their education?

Richard Shearer: My daughter is 24 and she works in the UK, so she is old enough to do what she likes. So from that stand of point I see her occasionally when I go to the UK. But not for too long. She works in Telefonica, a telecommunication company in England. She has a degree, she has only recently started to work, only for 18 month, so she is learning about a big wide world and making her own way in it.


FC: Which countries did you visit for a rest and which of them did you like most of all?

Richard Shearer: As I have already said my main house is in Italy and I am often there. I used to live in Asia. I fully enjoy visiting Asia for a holiday (Thailand, Malaysia).



FC: Could you, please, tell if you ever had a curious situation in your life?

Richard Shearer: If I look back on my life I`ve lived in about 7-8 countries, worked in about twenty, but when I was younger I`ve never traveled at all. So given that fact to go from “never traveling” to “always traveling”, if you ask my mother she would tell you that “it is not my son”.

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