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24 Feb, 2009 16:45

PR expert talks himself out of a job

PR expert talks himself out of a job

The senior manager of Russia’s leading bank has lost his job for saying too much about his boss. Aleksandr Gafin from Alfa Bank suggested its head Petr Aven may become Latvia’s Prime Minister.

Aven himself was apparently surprised to hear about his alleged political ambitions. In an interview published on Tuesday, he said the idea was ‘demented’ and that he didn’t authorize his advisor Gafin to say anything like that.

Earlier Gafin said to a Latvian newspaper that Aven would ‘consider with great interest’ a proposition to take the position of Latvia’s Prime Minister. The position is now vacant after the previous head of the cabinet Ivar Godmanis has dismissed the position following criticism over his inability to save the country from the economical crisis.

Latvian businessmen “would like to see a neutral man not involved in local corruption scandals, an experienced businessman or a politician, who can lead the country out of the crisis,” Gafin said. Aven’s Latvian ancestry would also be in his favour.

Gafin later confirmed his words could not be attributed to his boss, but it was too late. On Tuesday, Alfa bank announced the veteran manager, who has been working for Alfa Bank since 1994, will now have to look for a new job. The bank said Gafin’s unauthorized statements breached professional ethics.

According to Interfax news agency, Aleksandr Gafin is an experienced PR expert in the industry. His latest occupation in Russia’s biggest private financial company was promotion of its private banking services. The sacked top manager was on Alfa bank’s board of directors, although it was more a status position, since he was not involved in its day-to-day operations.