Monaco is becoming more and more known as a "hub" for international financial affairs. One of the lesser known, but more successful companies in the domain is Pastor International, set-up by Donald C. Scott, a former advisor on Soviet affairs to the American Government.
Monaco Actualité: How did the idea of Pastor International come about?
Donald Scott: The idea actually first came about 15 years ago. I've always believed one of the major problems today in international business is, although very major companies like IBM, Gulf and Texaco can afford to have branches overseas, it's often difficult for smaller companies to be able to work in foreign countries. This is more the case in countries like Russia and Eastern Europe and even, strangely enough, places like Monaco. Many companies don't have the financial means nor the savoir faire to be able to succeed outside the borders of their own country without help. My idea was to establish a company which would assist American and European companies to do business in other countries: primarily Russia and Eastern Europe. Then, after a while I was surprised to learn many American companies didn't know how to go about doing business in Monaco, so we started helping companies and individuals here as well.
Monaco Actualité: Why Monaco?
Donald Scott: I've visited or lived in many of the great capitals of the world. In my opinion, Monaco compares favourably to any major business centre anywhere, because Monaco has an enlightened government, excellent telecommunications, exceptional banking facilities, and access to unparalleled transportation facilities. I can be in Russia or Eastern Europe or North or South America in a matter of hours by plane. It's centrally located for doing business anywhere in Europe. But perhaps the most important for me personally is the quality of life here. After spending weeks in Siberia or Moscow in the Winter, returning to the sun and safety of Monaco is a welcome respite. Besides, Monaco attracts people from all walks of life and there's a great talent here which adds to the diversity of one's personal and professional life.
Monaco Actualité: You worked for the American government for more than 20
years. What did that entail?
Donald Scott: I was primarily in political affairs. I was in the military, and retired a Colonel in the Air Force. I had a very unusual career as I spent a lot of time doing assessments on Russia and on Europe and advising Congress and the White House and Heads of State and Governments on political, military and economic matters. That was a good training ground for what I'm doing today in Monaco.
Monaco Actualité: So what exactly does Pastor International do?
Donald Scott: I hope it will never be too defined. Pastor International will always be open to new ideas and I think that's our secret to success... being ready to do anything and go anywhere anyone asks us to go... to do something exciting and different in Monaco and other countries. Pastor International is a basically consulting company. We develop creative and innovative ideas for major corporations and we go out to different parts of the world to help them make those ideas happen. Our job is to put people together, to assist them in doing business together, and of course to profit from that business. We've been very successful in a very short three years, because there's an enormous need for a catalyst in business affairs. We are small and our capacities are limited, but you'd be amazed how important it is to be the middle-men in the cultural world, in the artistic world as well as in the business world.
Monaco Actualité: Tell me more about your projects.
Donald Scott: To date, we've had 15 conferences between the top members of the Russian government and various business people. We feel it's critical to get major business people from the top corporations together with political leaders to exchange ideas. The conferences have taken place in all the major capitals of the world. There was one here in Monaco a little over a year ago. That was our first major effort and it led to us signing several major contracts. The biggest contract to date has been in titanium. It's a very important industry, because it's a light, non-corrosive space-age metal, which can be used for many applications. We have been responsible for the first joint venture between the largest American titanium company and the largest Russian titanium company. It was a very difficult marriage, because they were competitors before. Our role was to show them they would survive and work better together as partners rather than as enemies, by finding economies of scale and finding better ways of doing things. It's been enormously successful, and it should hopefully turn around the titanium industry and open up new exciting uses for this metal.
Monaco Actualité: What about the near future?
Donald Scott: We have an interesting project with Perrier to develop bottled water in Russia. We are working now with the Ritz Carlton and Marriot hotel companies to develop hotel projects in Europe and in Russia. We recently signed an agreement to assist the Russians with their nuclear waste problems. That's been very interesting. We've also been working on a number of other commodity projects.
Monaco Actualité: What do you see as being the main investment opportunities in
the Eastern bloc at the moment?
Donald Scott: I think Russia is a very difficult place to do business right now. It's an area where I would advise people to be very cautious. Investors should go in with a 150% knowledge. Many people have been very successful, but many more have not. I think the area to be involved in today is building infrastructure in Russia or Eastern Europe... being involved in commodities like titanium, coal, petroleum, timber, or paper pulp... all of the products the Russians at this stage can produce very well. But also telecommunications are very exciting in Russia today, and anything having do with agriculture, because It's such an enormous country. Russia and Eastern Europe occupy over one sixth of the world's land surface. You appreciate that especially when you're in a small country like Monaco. Russia and Eastern Europe I believe have enormous opportunities. There are many problems... everyone talks about the mafia, the language problems and the general economic instability. But the advantages of doing business in Russia by far outweigh the disadvantages. Otherwise I wouldn't be here doing what I'm doing.
Monaco Actualité: What about human resources in the Eastern bloc? People often
say these are difficult to exploit because the people are not used to working the way we
do in the West.
Donald Scott: I disagree with those who think the Russians and Eastern Europeans are lazy. I've always believed that Eastern Europeans work as hard, if not harder than anybody. They're very well educated. One thing communism did right was to create a good educational system, albeit very limited. I believe the people of Eastern Europe need a system that rewards them for their work. There's an old joke in Russia, "They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work". But if you give Russians an opportunity to succeed they will succeed. Proof of my argument is that Russians were very advanced in space, medicine and many other areas... of course not across the board... but in many areas the Russians excelled. They have excellent technology and capabilities in the areas where they concentrate. they're just as good and just as talented as anyone else. They just need a chance to develop it. And that's what we're trying to do at Pastor International: to help them develop their skills and bring the resources and experiences of the West to balance off what they already have. But right now, and rightly so, many companies are afraid... they don't know how to get involved. it's not easy even here in Monaco to begin a new business. So you can imagine how difficult it is in a country like Russia.
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