Web Site Gives Executives a Place to Talk Business

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Thanks to the Ward Howell International recruiting agency, Russia's executives now have their own online society where they can pass around virtual business cards.

The Russian language site www.e-xecutive.ru is both an information source and an online forum. Its goal is to put businessmen in contact to help each other develop management skills. Ward Howell International managing partner Sergei Vorobyev believes the country's upper management is struggling with a lack of efficiency — the real problem of Russian business — and that this web site can help overcome this.

It is one of the few web sites where participation cannot be done anonymously. Site members must be within Russia's management elite. Registration is possible online, and all that is required is a photo and some personal information. Once membership has been acquired, you may have your own page, and exchange your virtual business card.

E-xecutive.ru is easy to navigate, with content broken into three broad categories: society, knowledge and career.

The society section is a veritable who's who of Russian management. Nonmembers can browse through the list of managers, but membership is required to retrieve contact details.

The knowledge section includes information about education programs both in Russia and abroad. There are also online exams where members can put their management prowess to a cyber-test.

The career section includes an interesting "how much are you worth?" section. Members can provide information about themselves and their professional abilities to discover what sort of income they can expect.

But one doubt about the site remains: Do top-level managers have nothing more important to do than engage in a glorified chat room with their corporate peers?