He graduated from the Faculty of Economy of Gomel State University named after Francis Skorina. He got a job in the marketing service of Gomel Chemical Plant at a free competition of applicants. In 10 years he became director of the plant. Now Igor Liashenko is 34…
He graduated from the Faculty of Economy of Gomel State University named after Francis Skorina. He got a job in the marketing service of Gomel Chemical Plant at a free competition of applicants. In 10 years he became director of the plant. Now Igor Liashenko is 34…

“I am also 34, but I am not a director. I don’t envy, but I want to know how it happens to other people.”

Judging by his reaction, a conversation about rates and plans would have been easier. However, the meeting can last only 40 minutes and the director of the big enterprise, restraining hour hands, sincerely tries to help me.

“It was interesting for me from the first days at the plant. A complicated enterprise, quiet “mobile” from the point of view of economy. The situation constantly required improvement of a professional form. Probably, it’s shameful to confess, but I have been reading only special productive and economical magazines for 10 years — I simply don’t have time for the rest... The offer to hold the post of the director was unexpected for me though I have been in charge of the supervisory board of our joint-stock company for three years. I was the head of the planning and economic department of the enterprise.”

“You were restless making this decision, weren’t you?”

“I was. This is not a simple plant. It’s a monopolist. It means that any failure in manufacture ricochets the economy of the country. I had many traits to check in me. I weighed the readiness to accept this burden of responsibility and holding it. I agreed because I knew for sure that “Belneftekhim” concern, including our enterprise as well, would always help and support us in the most difficult situations. It proved to be so many times for these two years.”

“Does it mean that you didn’t have to prove that you were capable of big business in spite of your age?”

“Nowadays nobody estimates the specialist by his age. He may be 25 or 70. The main thing is the result. You can achieve results if you possess knowledge and skills of making decisions.”


“If you mean the plant, this enterprise makes it impossible to manage the situation by yourself. The driving force is a collective mind. The directorate discusses everything. Any mistake is at least a missed opportunity. A single team shall be formed. We have such a team. It mainly consists of managers 30–38 years of age, the eldest is 54. Each of them is ready for any business-trip within half an hour. Whether it is a town farm or a 16-hour flight to Venezuela. We build up the team consisting of 2.5 thousand people in the spirit of the same philosophy: professionalism and safety are main things. This is why I often take part in competitive selections of young specialists. It is not enough to have a diploma today. A spark is needed, light in the eyes so that a person could become our “ray.” We are focused on the youth. We try to pull them up to the chemical plant with the help of a scheme of “attracting actions” ranging from encouragement to spending spare time. Concert and circus tickets, common holidays and meetings, city breaks on the seaside… “Excuse me,” the umpteenth telephone call and the next pause. Liashenko doesn’t sit into a global leather chair. He passes it by. I can’t grasp whether he jokes or is serious: it is necessary to outrun a good decision, and to fall asleep and wake up with a problem in order to find the only correct answer.

“Does it mean that you had difficult decisions?” I am leading him away from the “phone talk.”

“All decisions are difficult. They are neither bad nor good, they are difficult. The situation at the market of raw materials changes daily. Our production depends on importers of raw materials by 75 per cent. Prices for sulphur and phosphorus increased by several times within the year. It is necessary to keep an eye out, to trace exchange auction, to foresee, to feel. The marketing service of the chemical plant lives in such an extreme mode. We can work with any partners today. I assure you that this work is head-to-head. Recently the plant has been actively cooperating with different countries from near and far abroad. I would like to say to be fair: by the level of training and business acumen our managers are equal to western and European specialists.”

“I can see that you are proud of your team. What else are you proud of?”
“For purposes of clarity: these achievements are collective. I would like to mention two projects of the chemical plant modernization, very important for the enterprise. Specificity of chemical production lies in the fact that each 10 years the equipment shall be totally renovated. The first modernization project of the sulphuric acid workshop is in its final stage. Deep reconstruction of the phosphoric acid workshop is on the way. Realization of this and that is a cardinal step forward. If we make such a step, the enterprise will have the opportunity to work at the expense of depleted raw material and make the manufacture of fertilizers cheaper, to increase its volume, and weaken raw materials dependence from importers. These are plans by 2015.”

“I see that you clearly imagine the plant in seven years, don’t you?”
“Of course, I imagine it operating at full power. The plan is to increase output by 60 per cent. I see the team as strong-knit and reliable as today.”
“Will there be mountains of waste products (phosphogypsum, surrounding the plant)?”

“I think that in a year and a half we will launch a waste recycling project. Two variants are under consideration now: with participation of a Belgian-French investor or in compliance with the national scientific project. There are no analogues of phosphogypsum recycling in the world. I hope that we will become the first.”

Violetta Draliuk
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