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Working paper

The Birth of an Entrepreneurial Board in Emerging Markets: A Russian Case

This paper investigates the role of boards in founder-managed firms with concentrated ownership in emerging markets. The existing literature suggests that this type of company, even if they decide to recruit high-profile individuals as directors, rarely empowers the boards in the corporate governance structure. The paper conducts a case study of AFK Sistema—a large Russian investment company which is controlled and managed by the founder. We observe that, contrary to expectations, in this company the founder empowered the board of directors at the same time focusing on recruiting independent (mainly foreign) directors to the board, in spite of the costs associated with this governance structure in the Russian context. Based on this case, we develop a theory of entrepreneurial boards where directors are expected to take the initiative in relations with both internal and external actors and where the empowerment of boards is necessary to provide them with proper motivation.