EY presents first Robin Bennett award

On Tuesday 27 May 2014 at the Four Seasons Hotel, BBG sponsors EY introduced their first annual Robin Bennett ‘smoking pipe’ award for contribution to Azerbaijan-UK business relations, in recognition of Robin’s work in Baku.

And the award goes to…

EY Country Managing Partner Ilgar Veliyev presented the award to John Patterson, current BBG Chairman since 2009 saying, “You are the face of Azerbaijan-UK business. Thank you very much for the BBG, thank you very much for your banter; please keep doing what you’re doing which is very helpful for all of us.”

“Robin did a lot for the promotion of British business people in Azerbaijan,” Ilgar explained. “His birthday is in June, and we wanted to do something to support what he was doing for many years of his life.”

Robin Bennett OBE, 1942-2011, was one of the founders of the BBG Azerbaijan, which he went on to chair for 10 years, developing the Baku business world with his sought-after experience and knowledge. He came to Baku as a Managing Partner of EY, with whom he enjoyed a long and successful career, after which he set up the Azerbaijani branch of Moore Stephens.

EY, the global tax and accounting firm known as Ernst and Young until last year is celebrating its 20th year in Azerbaijan. Partner and BBG committee member  Turgay Teymurov highlighted EY’s new branding during a light-hearted quiz as their sponsor’s presentation.

British Embassy news

British Ambassador Irfan Siddiq attended an international British ambassadors conference in London last month. One topic of discussion was the recovering economy. As part of his summary, Irfan said: “The UK now has the fastest growing economy of all G7 countries, but there is a need for us as a country to continue to work to support this economic recovery. There is a lot of focus on how we can encourage British companies to do more business overseas. You’re all already fantastic examples of success in that regard, examples that we’d like others to follow.”

June is a busy month for the Embassy, which has already hosted an opening reception for the Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference in conjunction with the Embassy of the United States. It was attended by the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy Charles Hendry who visited that week, meeting the president, attending the exhibition and “making sure the British presence is felt,” said Irfan.

Other delegations coming to Baku in June include London & Partners to share the legacy of London 2012 Olympic Games as Baku prepares for the 2015 European Games; the University of Cambridge in establishing a course in Turkic and Azeri Studies; and the Royal College of Defence Studies to learn about the geopolitical landscape of the country.

Irfan added: “It’s an indication of how much the British government is beginning to focus on Azerbaijan, and how much interest there is in Azerbaijan.”

The evening was led by Chairman John Patterson with ‘New Faces’ introductions and the usual mingling and networking before and after the presentation and buffet.

We ate beef Wellington and crêpes suzette washed down with Azerbaijani Fireland wine, finding a moment to tear ourselves away for a Jaleh Spa hand massage as an unexpected Four Seasons Hotel treat.

If you wish to attend the next event, or become a sponsor, please contact John Patterson at jpatterson@i2offshore.net