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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is strengthening its operations in Russia to adapt to the current investment needs of the country that receives more than a quarter of the EBRD’s financing – more than any other country.

Under the leadership of a new business group director for Russia, Alain Pilloux, more EBRD bankers and lawyers at more senior levels will be based in Russia. The EBRD, which is Russia’s single largest financial investor, plans to open two new offices in Russia’s regions in addition to the offices it already has in St Petersburg, Ekaterinburg and Vladivostock.
Pilloux will closely coordinate banking operations that underlie more than €
1bn of annual business, reflecting the bank’s strategy to support the diversification of the Russian economy beyond the petroleum sector and outside the major cities.

Pilloux has been director of operations in Central Europe since July 1999 and for the past three years he has also been responsible for agribusiness, property and tourism in the bank’s 27 countries of operation.

He will continue with those responsibilities as he moves into the role managing operations in Russia.

Pilloux replaces Hubert Pandza, who plans to return to his native Germany. Under a more focused structure, the business group for Russia will no longer include responsibility for Central Asia, which will be transferred to Olivier Descamps, business group director for Southern and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus.

The EBRD signed Russian transactions totalling €
1.12bn in 2006, bringing total cumulative commitments since it started operating in Russia in 1991 to €