Russian roulette

In the UK, pitching for clients is a civilised affair.

Firms are safe in the knowledge that their presentations are private and confidential. They know they will at least get a ‘thank you’ for their efforts – even if the firm fails to win the bid.

In Russia, though, some pitches are more akin to appearing on a special edition of The Weakest Link.

Imagine the scene: a Russian oligarch summons firms from all over the globe to make their cases for acting on some urgent business.

The instruction is worth enough to boost any partner’s earning potential, so the oligarch has the power to do as he wishes.

In this case the oligarch had representatives from each firm gather around a huge table. They then each stood up in front of one another to make their arguments for representing him.

Those not to his liking received a gentle tap on the shoulder and were escorted from the room by his minders.

It’s a long walk of shame that lasts all the way to the airport and all the way home.