A refugee crisis following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan could derail a bumper year for Turkey’s Coca Cola Icetek, according to its chief executive Burak Basarir.

Basarir is among the top-scoring chief executives in Institutional Investor’s Emerging EMEA Executive Team, as voted for by over 1,500 buy- and sell-side professionals. The recognition comes as Coca Cola Icetek is expanding in Central Asia after completing a two-year negotiation to acquire the majority stake in the Coca-Cola bottler in Uzbekistan. At the same time, Basarir has one eye on the movement of refugees around the region. “We are following closely the political instability in Afghanistan and the refugee movements across our key markets such as Pakistan and Turkey,” he said.

It’s the closing of borders — and access to markets — that keeps Grigory Vitalyevich Fedorishin from Russia’s largest steelmaker Novolipetsk Steel awake at night. “We are witnessing a surge in protectionism and a trend towards further market regionalization,” said Fedorishin, II’s top-scoring chief executive in the metals and mining sector. “Key global economies will continue to defend their positions and internal markets. This could translate into additional barriers, or into more complex trading conditions among countries.” Nonetheless, Fedorishin said, NLMK has been working to insulate its supply chains against unexpected disruptions for some time. “We were able to quickly adapt” when the pandemic hit, he said, noting that the firm entered alternative sales markets and earned the trust of new customers when traditional business stalled.

At TCS Group Holding, a banking group domiciled in Cyprus and operating in Russia as Tinkoff, Russia’s isolated position on the world stage means it is somewhat insulated from geopolitics, according to chief executive Oliver Hughes. Nonetheless, Hughes, who was the highest ranking chief executive in the financial sector, said Tinkoff is growing faster than the competition. Now the firm faces two challenges: how to scale up quickly while maintaining the quality of its service and where to find the tech talent that it needs to grow its platform. Both will depend on the stability of the market.

“Hopefully we will have an uneventful 2022,” he said.

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