Russian Government Slams Channel One's Corporate Governance (Report)

The country's state property agency is allegedly accusing the station of failure to provide proper reporting and holding irregular board meetings.

MOSCOW – The Russian government has slammed the country’s largest TV station, state-controlled Channel One, for poor corporate governance, according to a report published on Nov. 26 in the leading business newspaper Vedomosti.

The report quoted an unnamed official at the federal state property agency, which manages all government holdings and property, as saying that in terms of corporate governance quality, Channel One is “the worst” state-controlled corporation in the country as it doesn’t file all required reports and the company’s board meetings are irregular.

“Its board only meets in person once or twice a year,” the official told Vedomosti. “Information is not made public, and demands by the government as an owner are often not implemented.”

Meanwhile, Channel One denied any problems with corporate governance. “The Russian state property agency hasn’t sent us any written complaints regarding the number of board meetings or failure to provide reports,” Larisa Krymova, Channel One’s spokesperson, told The Hollywood Reporter. “Normally, the channel’s board meets three times a year, which is in line with the charter, and this year’s third meeting has been scheduled for December.”

Last spring, the channel published all of its annual reports starting from 2008 on its web site, she added.

The Russian government owns a 51 percent share in Channel One, another 25 percent is owned by the National Media Group, and the remainder is believed to be controlled by companies associated with Roman Abramovich.

Available to 99.3 percent of Russia’s population, Channel One reported revenues of 28.9 billion rubles ($932 million) and net profits of 2.8 billion rubles ($90.1 million) in 2011.

Meanwhile, in accordance with financial data for 2009-2010, which the station disclosed last spring, Channel One has been able to turn in a profit only thanks to subsidies from the government.