Milos Grbic is a Serbian citizen, but the past 12 years of his life have been closely bound up with Russia. It was here that he became a professional oilman, and started his family. This year, he went to work in the Urals. Today he is Deputy CEO for Procurement at Gazpromneft Orenburg, and tells readers of Neftegazeta how he got there.
‘I was born in Belgrade. From a family in which, figuratively speaking, you never so much as smelt hydrocarbons, I became an oilman. It was exclusively my own choice, which began to develop even at a very young age. What I particularly liked about the profession was its global scale: it’s a highly complex business, impacting all aspects of the economy. It was a theoretical and romantic choice, an attempt to look beyond the horizon to find what I dreamed of doing. And everything I’ve done since has been directed at achieving these goals.
I graduated from High School successfully and came to Russia, enrolling at the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas.
After getting my degree I spent a further year under an exchange programme, studying for an MSc at the IFP School, Paris.’
When all’s said and done — Russia!
I’m often asked why, having been given the chance to put down roots in the West, I didn’t take it? Well, I’m not going to go against my instincts. You have to overcome an awful lot of stereotypes to become fully assimilated there.
Russia, on the other hand, is a completely different kettle of fish! I’ve always loved and respected the country. You have to understand the Russian people in order to love them, and I have a very similar mentality. Maybe that’s why I married a Russian girl.
Our two countries are very close, both in terms of ideology and religion. The best 12 years of my life were spent here. I’ve had a great career, and built up my professional experience — initially within American companies in Russia, then in my own homeland, at Gazprom Neft subsidiary NIS. And then —quite recently — I came back: Russia to me is far more than simply the country in which I work.
I have been employed on projects in procurement, logistics and materials management for major vertically integrated oil companies.
In 2009 I accepted the position of Head of the Materials Management Department at the newly acquired Gazprom Neft Serbian subsidiary NIS.
At the end of 2012 I was offered the post of Deputy CEO for Procurement at Gazpromneft Orenburg.
The opportunity to prove myself in a new capacity, in a completely unfamiliar role, reignited my professional ambitions. Of course, I knew it wasn’t going to be straightforward.
But I have absolutely no regrets at taking the decision to come to the Urals, although previously during my time in Russia I’d never travelled further than the European Plain.
Securing the home front
I arrived in Orenburg on 12 January 2013 and was met with a very warm welcome. The support of my colleagues was evident from the very first days in my new role. Everyone was happy to share information, and helped in every way they could. At work I’m a proponent of open dialogue and the enemy of pointless bureaucracy and ‘red tape’. By 15 January I had visited production facility No. 1, inspected the warehousing facilities, and got to know the personnel. The streets were frozen, but the sky was clear. The beauty of the day, and the sheer scale of production, together left a lasting impression.
Orenburg held much that was unfamiliar and strange to me — for example, the recent almost instantaneous transition from winter to summer. Which left me with an immediate challenge — having to provide summer kit for all staff, well in advance. Making sure the production process is fully supported — within the context of corporate standards and procedures — is the overriding priority in everything I do. Getting bored is just out of the question — work has me on the edge of my seat. The company is growing fast, and its demands are increasing in line with that: deadlines are constantly having to be juggled.
But the home front is pretty strong: my family have come to Orenburg with me — my wife Ksenia and my son Pyotr. We found our flat pretty quickly. At the weekend we like exploring the banks of the Ural River. We like it here.
Milos Grbic was born in Belgrade in 1979, to an engineer father (a telecommunications and networks specialist) and a mother in the teaching profession (as is his younger brother). He graduated from the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas in 2004, and from 2004 through 2005 studied in Paris. From 2005 through 2006 he worked as a senior consultant at Deloitte, and from 2006 through 2009 as a manager at Accenture. From 2009 through 2013 he was Head of Materials Management at NIS before being appointed Deputy CEO for Procurement at Gazpromneft Orenburg in 2013. He is married, with one son. His hobbies include cycling and history.