Casino International Online [CIO]: Tell us about your background
Sergey Mukhanov |SM|: I was born into a family of Russian nuclear scientists, finished physical-math school and then graduated from Tomsk State University Computer Science Department. I then worked for different software outsourcing companies and my main specialization was big informational systems, financial and fraud control systems and high-load real time systems.
In 2005, I finished PMI courses of Project Management Institute Saint-Petersburg and later in 2007, finished a Government-sponsored MBA- program in Tomsk Polytechnic University called “Presidential Program for Management Training for Enterprises of the National Economy of the Russian Federation”.
I joined Connective Games in the very beginning as a Project Manager implementing its core platform, and my career progressed from there when I later became the Head of Casino, responsible for guiding the creation of our casino offering. In 2011 I was appointed Chief Customer Officer. We introduced our current principles of working with customers and focused our efforts on archiving synergy between the teams. During the next five years I sequentially worked with each of our key customers to build as close partnerships as possible. It seems we managed to build a balanced ecosystem which combines Connective technical expertise with customers’ marketing competence delivering high level of localization and innovations.
In January 2016 I was very proud to be promoted to CEO of Connective Games where I remain passionate about moving the company to the leading position within the market.
Now, according to Pokerscout, four of the world’s top 25 poker rooms used our software and we were ranked #2 by the total number of cash players among B2B poker suppliers. We are presented in South and Central America, CIS region, Georgia, Denmark, India and Middle East. Our poker software is recognized as being at the top end of the market.
Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my happy family which includes three kids, all kinds of winter sports such as snowboarding, skating and skiing and I also enjoy swimming.
CIO: What brought you to Connective?
SM: The most attractive thing at Connective is the amazing people who work there. We have more than 50 bright, really smart and energetic individuals - not just professionals who enjoy what they do, but also very interesting personalities.
Another thing is the unique atmosphere which is formed by challenging tasks, encouraged creativity and the possibility of self-realization. I joined the company, loved it and been here more than 10 years.
CIO: What were your immediate key points of focus were when you arrived?
SM: There were several of them, but I started with improving the company structure of the Connective Games Group. As our business grew, so did the rapidity of our customers’ business and the old structure couldn’t handle the increased volume, therefore we had to quickly extend and transform our Russia-based company into an international structure.
CIO: Was it daunting to take over from longtime CEO Konstantin Zubarev?
SM: For sure. This was not only my first CEO job, but I had also worked under his guidance learning a lot from him on a daily basis. I definitely feel that Konstantin is someone, to this day, that can still provide me with necessary advice and consultancy when required.
CIO: Eight months in, how are you finding it?
SM: On the one hand it is really thrilling thing to manage one of the world’s leading gaming software companies; however, on the other hand I now see more things that would be nice to change than when I first started in this role. This brings its own challenges.
CIO: What qualities do you bring personally to the company that will help ensure ongoing success?
SM: I have an ability to focus on and solve complex tasks and really care about the obligation I have taken on, and I care about the company which has become like a second family. As previously mentioned, being CEO has its rewards but also its challenges and I feel that I have the experience and qualities to find solutions,