Notice the “pavlov” in the name, “Petropavlovsk?”
Well, it seems pretty obvious that the gold mining giant hopes that Alya Samokhvalova, who just got appointed to the executive board of the ~$4 billion gold miner Petropavlovsk (formerly Peter Hambro Mining), will be like the bell that rings right before hedge funds investors come running.
Firstly, gold mining companies are a hugely popular investment for hedge funds (like Paulson and Soros) right now.
Also, let’s not forget that hedge funds are famous for their hot IR-chicks. Their IR ladies are well groomed, well educated, and they have good stories to tell*, so investors like to talk to them.
Check out how this 43-year-old Uzbek-born beauty got her job.
Samokhvalova’s lucky break came after visiting Russia, when her late husband’s friends asked her to take a gift back to Peter Hambro’s office in London for them.
She ended up meeting both Peter Hambro and Pavel Maslovskiy, the CEO of Petropavlovsk, telling them her life story, and almost instantaneously, they offered her a job.
She says something like this would never have happened in Moscow: “In Russia there is no room for sympathy, no room to help other people, no sentiment. It’s a struggle for everyone and so everyone just looks out for themselves.”
Well, maybe we’re being a little presumptuous, but we’re pretty sure Russian companies would be a little more willing to hire people like Samokhvalova if they knew what a draw she could be for investors.
She’s also a good asset for the company because imitation is the highest form of flattery, and God knows you have to kiss a hedge funds’ butt if you want them to invest in you.
Petropavlovsk obviously gets it, because Samokhvalova is similar to the bevy of hot IR-chicks at so many hedge funds – immaculately presented, educated, with a trove of interesting stories* to keep investors spellbound.
Samokhvalova is exactly like that, and hence its not surprise she’s Petropavlovsk’s hot new IR lady.
And she handled the new job opportunity with class, and impressive foresight.
First, she got educated. At the time, didn’t even know what a bond was, so she went back to university to study mining, engineering and geology.
She earned a Masters in Investment Management from CASS Business School in London and a PhD in Economics from the Moscow International High Business School. And she was smart enough to fcous her expertise in an industry that was going to boom for years to come.
Now she’s the head of external communications for the gold miner and will now also chair the strategic committee.
*Here’s her good story:
She comes from nothing.
Her family had to sell their home just to buy train tickets to Moscow when they were forced to flee from their native Uzbekistan because, despite having lived in the then-Soviet republic for three generations, they “weren’t Uzbek enough for the locals.”
She worked her way up the corporate ladder of a pharmaceutical firm and in her 30s married a prominent oil executive who died of heart attack. After that, Samokhvalova had to find work fast.
In an interview with with Financial Mail Women’s Forum, she said,
I analysed my CV and looked at what was happening in Russia. The main business activity was foreign investment. All my Russian education was very academic and deep but it had nothing to do with the financial markets and the changing financial scene in Russia.
So she sold everything and moved to London to study, forcing herself to learn English. She says she understood two or three words in her first lecture at City University.
And now, the blonde beauty is the first female executive director at the company.
It’s a doozy.