Alec Mally

Alec Mally is currently Director for Global Economic Affairs at Foresight Strategy and Communications, an Athens-based consulting firm, Director at the Institute for Regional Dialogue and Strategy (IPEDIS), a local think tank, as well as Director at the Repower Greece public diplomacy initiative. He is also Chair of Democrats Abroad Greece and a Board member of the new firm Blue White Capital LLC, which invests in as well as advises on climate-friendly ventures. Since the onset of the Greek economic crisis, he has also been an international media commentator on a range of Greek economic issues. Prior to moving back to Greece, he was a career U.S. Foreign Service Officer for 27 years, with a range of assignments in Balkan and global affairs. In this region, he served as U.S. Consul General in Thessaloniki and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Pristina, Kosovo. Stateside, he served as Economic Counselor at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York, as the State Department’s Senior Desk Officer for Greece and as Regional Economic Officer for Southeastern Europe (during the Bosnian War). Mr. Mally had prior postings in Bucharest, Warsaw, Athens, Manila and the State Department Secretariat, primarily focused on economic and regional issues.

Banking on the Future

Gent Sejko

Gent Sejko is the Governor of the “Bank of Albania” and Chairman of its Supervisory Council. Governor Sejko graduated from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Tirana in 1991 with a specialty in industrial economics, and later earned a Master’s degree in International Accounting and Financial Management from the University of Glasgow in Scotland in 1997. He began his banking career as Head of the Credit Division of the National Commercial Bank, after which he became an Inspector at the Supervision Department of the Bank of Albania. He subsequently served as senior auditor and consultant at Deloitte & Touche and then as Head of the Internal Audit and Compliance Division of the American Bank of Albania before returning to the Bank of Albania’s Supervision Department as Head of Division for on-site examinations. During Governor Sejko’s banking career, he served in a number of management positions at Raiffeisen Bank (including as Head of the Division for the Internal Audit, Compliance and Relations with the Government; Director General of Raiffeisen Leasing; and Head of Corporate Banking) and at Société Générale Albania (including as Deputy General Manager and Head of Retail Department and Branches Network) before his appointment as Bank of Albania Governor in 2015.

Nikola Fabris

Dr. Nikola Fabris is Vice-Governor for Financial Stability and Payment Systems at the “Central Bank of Montenegro“. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Belgrade in 1994, an M.A. in Economics in 1998 and a Ph.D. in Economics in 2002. He is a member of the Economic Science Board of the Montenegrin Academy of Science and Arts and is a professor at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Belgrade. Dr. Fabris has also served at a number of other higher education institutions including the Faculty of Economics in Podgorica, the Military Academy of the Yugoslav Army, Management College ‘Braća Karić’, Faculty of Business in Service Sector, and Faculty of Management in Doboj. From 2004 to 2013, he served as the Chief Economist of the Central Bank of Montenegro. In 2013, he became the Vice Governor for Financial Stability and Payment Systems, responsible for the financial system stability, payment systems management and regulation. He has contributed as an executive or a member of a project team on over 50 macroeconomic projects. He is the author or co-author of five books published in the field of economics and a number of published papers on economic policy, financial systems, transition and foreign direct investments.

Platon Monokroussos

Dr. Platon Monokroussos is Group Chief Economist and Deputy General Manager of “Eurobank Ergasias S.A.“, one of the four systemic banks in Greece. He is Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Hellenic Bank Association and its representative to the Chief Economists Group (CEG) of the European Banking Federation. He is also a member of Board of Directors of Grivalia Properties REIC, a public company which manages one of the most important commercial property portfolios in Greece and Eastern Europe. He holds a Professional Qualification Certificate for the provision of investment services (type D) issued by the Bank of Greece. Before joining Eurobank, he held high-level positions in leading financial institutions, including ABN AMRO and Bank of America. Dr. Monokroussos holds a Bachelor’s degree in theoretical Mathematics (University of Crete, Greece), Masters Degrees in Economics (Clark University, Worcester, MA USA) and Business Administration (Boston College, Wallace E. Carroll School of Management Boston, MA USA) as well as a Diploma in Business and Corporate Leadership from Harvard Business Publishing. He received his Ph.D. from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Doctorate thesis on foreign exchange microstructure). Dr. Monokroussos has written extensively on contemporary macroeconomic and financial issues and he is co-editor of the book “A Crisis Manual: A Retrospect of the Crisis and the Road to Recovery”, Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Banking and Financial Institutions Series (upcoming – September 2015). He has participated as a speaker in numerous international economic forums and has regularly been cited in the international financial press and newswires, including Financial Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and Bloomberg. Furthermore, he has appeared on CNN, BBC, CNBC as well as other leading broadcasters. In recent years, his team has repeatedly been included in the Reuters top-10 list of most accurate global forecasters of major exchange rates.

Aneta Krstevska

Dr. Aneta Krstevska is Chief Economist at the “National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia” in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, where she was previously Director of the Research Department during the period 2001 – 2010. Currently, she is a member of the Monetary Policy Committee and she is involved in the monetary policy setup, macroeconomic forecasting process, macroeconomic and financial sector analysis. Dr. Krstevska is actively involved in the preparation and discussion of the Economic Reforms programme of the country in conjunction with the European Union (EU) and other EU integration processes. Dr. Krstevska holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Faculty of Economics in Skopje, where she also obtained the Master degree in the field of Monetary Economics. Since 2007, she is a part-time professor at the University American College Skopje. She was a non-executive member of the Governing Board of the Deposit Insurance Fund during the period 2001-2002. Her research spans over several fields including Macroeconomics, Monetary Economics, Banking and Financial Markets.

Christos Papazoglou

Dr. Christos Papazoglou is a Senior Economist at the Economic Analysis and Research Department at the “Bank of Greece” and Professor of International Economics at the Department of International, European and Area Studies of Panteion University. A significant part of his duties under both affiliations are dedicated to the studies of issues concerning the Central, Eastern and Southeastern European economies. As a result, Dr. Papazoglou has followed developments closely, written numerous articles and participated in various European research projects concerning the particular economies. He is the author of the book “The Economies of Southeastern Europe: Performance and Prospects” published by Palgrave-MacMillan in 2005, while he is co-editor of another book entitled “Exchange Rate Policies, Prices and Supply Response: A Study of Transitional Economies” published by the same company. Dr. Papazoglou holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and received his Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign, U.S.A.

Balkan Economic Development Outlook

Ante Babic

Dr. Ante Babic is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for International Development Ltd. which was established in 2008 and serves as an adviser to private firms as well as banks on macro-economic, sectoral and currency analyses as well as forecasts for the South-East European region. He is also the Founder and President of ZelenJava.org, which is an organisation promoting sustainable development and green economic business, and he is the Founder, Developer and Manager of Project EUforija which is a series of monthly one-day conferences with EU experts for the benefit of Croatian entrepreneurs. He earned his Ph.D. at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Zagreb after which he continued his education under a Fulbright Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Harvard University in the Department of Economics specialising in macro-economics and international economics. Dr. Babic, who speaks twelve languages, began his career as Head of Unit for Balance of Payments and Exchange Rate at the Croatian National Bank during which time he served as a Research Assistant to a Research Fellow at the Economics Institute Zagreb. In 2004, he became the State Secretary for Development Strategy in the Croatian Government and Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister of Croatia. Thereafter, he was the Founder and CEO of Sigma Consulting Croatia for three years. He has served as Founder and Vice President of the Croatian Exporters Association, Secretary General of the Foreign Investors’ Council Croatia, and Consultant to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Euromoney, USAID and other international institutions. He is the author of articles and books published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)/European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Zagreb Journal of Economics, Croatian Economic Survey, USAID (re: the ESP Project in Croatia), Center for International Development Ltd., and the Foreign Investors’ Council of Croatia.

Phoebe Koundouri

Dr. Phoebe Koundouri is the Founder and Scientific Director at the International Centre for Research on the Environment and the Economy (ICRE8); Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science; Senior Research Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, UK; and Adjunct Research Fellow at ATHENA: Research and Innovation Centre in Information, Communication & Knowledge Technologies. Since 2010, she has been Associate Professor at the Department of International and European Economic Studies at the Athens University of Economics and Business, and since 2012, she has been the Founder and Director of the ReSEES: Research Team on Socio-Economic and Environmental Sustainability. During her career, she has been a College Lecturer in the Department of Economics at Cambridge University, University College London and University of Reading as well as a tenured Assistant Professor at the Department of International and European Economic Studies, Athens University of Economics and Business. From 1995-2005, she was an affiliated researcher at Cambridge University, University College London, London Business School and University of Cyprus. Among other visiting positions, she was a Visiting Professor at the Toulouse School of Economics (France), The Cyprus Institute (Cyprus) and the Open University of Cyprus. Dr. Koundouri holds a Ph.D., Master of Science and Master of Philosophy in Economics degrees from Cambridge University and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Leicester.

George Bouma

George Bouma, who has professional experience in 9 countries across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, is currently serving as Team Leader in Sustainable Development at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Istanbul Regional Hub for Europe and the CIS. His role focuses on employment and social inclusion, sustainable management of natural resources and green growth. Prior to this assignment, he served for 5 years as a Global Policy Advisor for the Energy and Environment Group in the Bureau for Development Policy at the UNDP in New York on mainstreaming poverty-environment issues into development planning and promoting social and environmental safeguards to development. Mr. Bouma has 25 years experience in development cooperation in areas of poverty reduction and as a technical expert in project environmental impact assessment (infrastructure, oil and gas, urban development), strategic environmental assessment, pollution control and management, water and sanitation and natural resource management. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree in Environmental Science from Murdoch University, Perth, Australia, and a Master of International Development degree from the University of Melbourne. He began his professional career as a Technical Officer in local government before he entered into consultancy where he developed his expertise as an environmental scientist engaged in environmental management and impact assessment activities in infrastructure, land use development, water resources and protected area management. His international experience began in 2000 working with the United Nations mission in East Timor. Between 2004 and 2006 he worked as an Environmental Impact Assessment expert in Afghanistan with an Environmental Governance and Capacity Building Programme for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). In 2007 Mr. Bouma began working as a freelance consultant on short-term assignments focusing on assistance to post conflict/disaster projects for UNEP in Indonesia, Mongolia, Rwanda, Ukraine, and China. In June 2009, he served with peace keeping operations as Natural Resources Advisor to the DSRSG (Recovery and Governance) of the UN Mission in Liberia before returning to the UNDP in New York.

Annika Betancourt

Annika Betancourt is an Economic Counselor for the U.S. State Department based at the U.S. Embassy in Athens. Her responsibilities include analyses of the Greek financial crisis, bailout programmes, and developments in the Greek economy in the shipping, aviation, tourism, entrepreneurship, agriculture, trade and investment sectors. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Master of Science degree specialising in Foreign Service and International Relationships at Georgetown University, Ms. Betancourt began her career as a Foreign Service officer serving in a consular position in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, prior to her current position in the Balkans. She speaks English, Spanish, Korean, Portuguese and Greek.

Balkan Energy Strategies

Evanthie Michalena

Dr. Evanthie Michalena earned her Ph.D. from the Sorbonne University in Paris, Master’s degree in Decision Sciences (international MBA) from the University of Athens and Master’s degree in Energy Economics as well as Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Piraeus, Greece. She was awarded a Marie-Curie IEF Scholarship and a scholarship from the Hellenic Institution of Scholarships for post-doctoral research. She serves as a Sustainable Energy Policy Consultant for the European Union, Black Sea region, ACP countries, Mauritius and Barbados; a researcher at the ENEC Laboratory (Sorbonne University and CRNS) and the ETEM Laboratory (University of the Aegean); and a Consultant to the European Commission on EU-funded projects (e.g. Horizon 2020, IEE, LIFE, LIFE+, Energy Facility, FP7, Marie Curie CoFund) and the training of Public Authorities of 10 countries in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. She is a lecturer at the Kapodistrian University of Athens and Aegean University on the subjects of renewable energy, sustainable energy and tourism, and geothermal energy politics and the economy. She is Co-Editor of the book Renewable Energy Governance, Complexities and Challenges and co-author of a scientific volume published by Demokrition University of Thrace. Her research has been published in 18 peer-reviewed journals and scientific volumes along with 30 publications of the proceedings of international conferences.

George Stassis

George Stassis is Chief Executive Officer of the Mamidakis Brothers Group of Companies, one of the largest Balkan Groups in the wholesale petroleum product distribution sector. He also serves as Managing Director of Mamidoil-Jetoil, President of Jetoil Serbia Ltd., Managing Director of Mamidoil Kosovo LLC/Standard Plin Ltd., President of Mamidoil Belgrade Ltd., and Managing Director of Moil Coal Trading Company Ltd. Until 2010, he served as Managing Director of Moil Moscow for nine years diversifying energy sources and coordinating all trading activities associated with the Russian Federation and Black Sea regional cargoes. Following his education in which he earned his Bachelor of Commerce, Administrative Management and Finance degree at Concordia University (Canada) and graduated summa cum laude with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in 1988 from Azusa Pacific University (California, U.S.), he began his career in 1989 as a Subcontract Administrator at Bell Helicopter Textron Canada. Thereafter, he served as Director of Formica-Courva S.A. for four years until 1996 during which period he also served as a Professor of Finance and Marketing at DEREE – The American College of Greece before joining the Mamidakis Brothers Group of Companies. Mr. Stassis is fluent in three languages – Greek, English and French, having earned his French Certificate at l’Universite de Montreal.

Nikos Katsis

Nikos Katsis is Director of the Strategy and Business Planning Division of DESFA – the Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator S.A. His principal responsibilities focus on the establishment of the natural gas tariffication system, the relevant regulatory regime, and the development of DESFA’s business plan. Mr. Katsis is a graduate of the Polytechnic School of Patras with a diploma in Chemical Engineering. He earned his Master’s Degree from the University of Athens in Marketing of Chemical Products, and attended a course in the Hellenic Management Association for Engineering Finance. In 1994, he began his career as Production Supervisor and Safety Manager at the pharmaceutical company Lavipharm S.A. In 2000, he joined the Hellenic Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) S.A. as a Feasibility Studies Manager focusing on the natural gas network expansion in Greece and serving as a company liaison with the European Commission before assuming his current position with DESFA. Mr. Katsis has served as a member of the Board of Directors of IGI Poseidon S.A. dealing with the gas pipeline infrastructure connection in the Ionian Sea between Greece and Italy. He has also served as a consultant to the Hellenic Minister of Development on international energy delivery and infrastructure agreements. He is a member of the Technical Chamber of Greece and participates in the Tariff Working Area, the Capacity Working Group and the Investment Group of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas. He speaks Greek, English and German.

Catalina Dragomir

Catalina Dragomir is Managing Director of Vestas CEU Romania in Bucharest which was established in 2008. By 2014, the company had achieved more than a 40% share of the Romanian wind energy market thus contributing to the country’s ranking as the 11th largest EU member state in installed capacity in wind energy projects. She graduated from the Faculty of Avionics at the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest and earned her Master of Business Administration degree from the National Institute of Economical Development INDE in Bucharest. She continued her education in International Contracts Management in Bracknell, England, and in Management of Public/Private Sector Companies and Investment Funds in Montpellier, France. She is the President of the Board of Directors of the Romanian Wind Energy Association and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Danish Romanian Business Association. She also serves as a member of the RES Task Force in the Department of Energy and as a member of the Energy Task Force (Coalitia Initiative) of the Romanian government.

Private Sector Investment in the Balkans

Nicolas Charalambous

Nicolas Charalambous is Founder, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Hellenic Seaplanes S.A.. He is also Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Incubo Strategies Ltd., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Future Cooperation Ltd., and Founder of Energy Partners Hellas Ltd.. After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Shipping Management from Panepistimion Pireos, Mr. Charalambous began his career as Director of Logistics and Head of the Human Resources Department for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Thereafter, he served as Managing Director of Element Power Hellas S.A. (Hudson Clean Energy Partners, a U.S. private equity firm with investments in the clean energy industry); Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Premium Consulting P.C.; and Managing Partner of In Power Partners Ltd.. His areas of specialisation include international experience in project financing and development, project management and business strategy.

Thomas Lubeck

Thomas Lubeck is Regional Manager for the Western Balkans at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, focused on private sector development. From his current base in Belgrade, he is responsible for developing and executing IFC’s regional strategy in the Western Balkans, including country responsibilities for Serbia, Croatia, Kosovo, Albania, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. IFC is currently undertaking investments in infrastructure, the financial sector and manufacturing as well as advising Governments on how to improve the business environment, especially in the administration of insolvency and bankruptcy. After receiving his Master’s degree in Accountancy from the George Washington University, he began his career as Senior Investment Officer at the International Finance Corporation in Kiev, Ukraine, responsible for the business development of the IFC’s financial markets in Ukraine and Georgia. Thereafter, he served as IFC Regional Manager of the South Caucasus in Tbilisi, Georgia, during which time he was responsible for a significant expansion of IFC investments in the private and public sectors, most notably in the banking sector and infrastructure including hydropower energy development, in the region of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Monika Ekstrom

Monika Ekstrom is Head of Sector for Political Reporting and Policy Analysis in the European Commission Representation Office in Greece. Ms. Ekstrom graduated from the University of Stockholm, Sweden, with a specialty in law and attended the University of Aix-en-Provence in France for one year during her undergraduate studies. She began her career in 1993 as an Assistant Judge at the Huddinge District Court in Stockholm. From 1996 until 2002, she served as a Case Handler at the European Commission Directorate General for Competition in the Unit responsible for competition in the motor vehicle and energy sectors. Thereafter, she served for six years as a Policy Officer at the European Commission Directorate General for Justice, Liberty and Security in the Units entitled Judicial Cooperation in Civil Matters (private international law) as well as Citizenship and Fundamental Rights before she moved to Greece in her current position in 2011. Ms. Ekstrom is the author of numerous articles published by institutions including the Institute for European Law at Stockholm University, the European Commission, the European Court of Justice, and the Hague Conference on Private International Law in the Netherlands.

Vangelis Pterneas

Vangelis Pterneas began his career as a Front-End Web Developer at the Institute for the Management of Information Systems where he was engaged in projects that were developed for the Greek Ministry of the Economy. While specialising in Computer Science at the Athens University of Economics and Business, he served as a Freelance Software Engineer as well as a Microsoft Student Partner for Microsoft delivering technical presentations, training and workshops to the academic community. Following his graduation from University, he became a Windows Software Engineer at Microsoft in Athens where he participated in the EU-funded projects Engage and VENUS-C and delivered numerous presentations about Microsoft technologies. In 2012, he launched the LightBuzz Software agency of which he is the current owner and Product Manager. LightBuzz helps innovative businesses create profitable software products. Mr. Pterneas’ projects have been widely recognised by the industry and academia and won the first place in Microsoft’s worldwide innovation competition in New York in 2011. His honours and awards include First Place in the 2011 National Entrepreneurship Competition, First Place in the 2011 Microsoft Corporation Worldwide Imagine Cup Competition in New York in the Interoperability Challenge category, First Place in the 2012 Rising Stars programme hosted by TEDx Athens, and the 2014 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award (Kinect for Windows). He is the author of the publication “Getting Started with HTML5 WebSocket Programming” concerning the implementation of the latest advanced technology for inter-active websites.