Author Archive

Patrik Anckar (SGP) – Helsinki (Finland)

Patrik Anckar (SGP)THE ACADEMY OF BUSINESS STRATEGY - FINLAND

PATRIK ANCKAR (SGP) Ph.D. MA MSc
SENIOR GLOBAL PARTNER (SGP)

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION: Helsinki (Finland)
HISTORY
The first phase of the commercial history is flavored by the importance of exports to the Soviet Union. The industrialization of Finland started on a larger scale after the second World War, when Finland had to pay war debts to the Soviet Union. On the one hand, many industries become dependent on the barter arrangements with the Soviet Union, and, on the other hand, the provision of oil from the East saved Finland from global energy crises. Thanks to a strong recovery spirit, stable politics, advanced education, strong female work force, and barter trade, Finland’s GDP per capita was among the highest in the world. The country used to be called the Japan of Europe. However, in the early 1990’s, the economy overheated partly due to deregulation of the financial markets. Unemployment, interest rates and taxes jumped to alarming levels. At the same time the Soviet Union collapsed with debts unpaid. Suddenly many of the basic industries and banks were in serious trouble, and the commercial scene was re-written. The second phase is marked by EU membership and the rise of Nokia. Things began to change for the better when Finland said goodbye to its political past and joined the EU in 1995. After that started a long period of prosperity, which was further enhanced when Finland joined the Euro in 2002 and finally ended its history of currency fluctuation. Another important factor for the prosperity period was the rise of Nokia. Nokia started not only an ICT boom in Finland, but also a major strengthening of Finland’s image. Thanks to Nokia, Finland was on everyone’s lips as the global forerunner in technology. In the tracks of Nokia several new companies were established and many started to internationalize their operations. Industrial success created new private welfare, especially through options programs and mergers and acquisitions. This phase ended in 2008, when the global recession hit. For instance, the Finnish boating industry, which had a long period of strong growth, lost 85% of its production in one year. Illustrative enough, along with Nokia losing market share the Finnish economy started to deteriorate and other countries started to pass Finland as the most advanced IT-country. The third phase, from 2008 until present, is marked by the beginning of the end of the traditional welfare state. And the fourth phase will be marked by a turn-around and total makeover of the economy.

CURRENT POSITION
In terms of the Finnish welfare state, there is a paradox between state interference and industrial growth. Shall the government use increased taxes to boost public services or lower taxes to increase purchasing and industrial investment. At the micro level, companies face cost cutting pressure to manage the short run but need investments to prepare for the long run. Macroeconomic uncertainty speeds the process and causes sometimes even unnecessary downsizing. Although Finland still ranks high in some international comparisons, e.g., in terms of credit worthiness, the measures needed to keep the high competitive level Finland has been famous for are quite radical. The present broad coalition based government seems incapable of reaching a balanced economy. Even the OECD calls for major measure like increased retirement age, increased employment and cost saving restructuring of the county system. Too many believe that we are in a recession, which eventually will go away and things will turn back to normal. That is not the case, Finland as well as many other countries are at a breaking point. Some field and business are part of the past, and will not survive, others are emerging (like gaming). Bigger companies may live in an illusion that things are in order, whereas smaller companies lack the time and capacity to analyze the future. Industries that adapt their production to low cost countries or procedures and create service concepts and development/design centers in Finland are better off. The question is, will Finland continue to rank high in quality of life indexes and international competitiveness. However, the Finns have always had a quality to bounce back, overcome difficulties, and to adjust to global challenges.

FUTURE OUTLOOK
In 2008, the government issued a group of prominent Finns to dwell upon the future brand of Finland. The group suggested that Finland should position itself as an international problem solver with a special emphasis on function, environment, and education. Ironically, the backbone of the Finnish success, the education system, started to lose its position as the best in the world. Nevertheless, the future of Finland will be less of traditionally strong industries (like paper and ship yards), where competitive advantages are shifting to other countries, and more of innovation and services, where cost of production is of less importance. This requires a change of the existing education programs. The habits of the Finnish consumers change at the same pace as the world changes. The Finnish market is changing from a diamond (small high end – large mid end – small low end) to a sandglass (small mid-end but bigger low-end and high-end). There will be battle between low price and high brands. Consequently, the middle-class is shrinking. Most of the Finnish purchasing power lies with people aged 65 and above. Still, most advertising is done by people in their twenties for people in their twenties. The 65+-segment is a force that still needs to be exploited. At the same time, the public pension funds acquired will not necessarily suffice for generations to come, which means that people have to prepare to take care of their retirement themselves. The traditional trade structure is changing; the good old times for the large whole sellers will not come back. Online shopping is just in its infancy, but already a threat to traditional stores. The hypermarkets have lost their attraction. Foreign players are starting to dominate certain industries, like furniture, clothing, sports, real estate, and soon even food. The Finnish market is quite easy to enter and the resistance to buy foreign products is low. Consumers have more power than companies through social media and networks. Traditional means of marketing are losing ground and new innovative ways to create dialogues with consumers are evolving. Most of the purchasing decisions are made before visiting a store. Shopping is becoming more of a social activity. The workplace is changing to a social place. At the same time, the attitude to work is changing, the traditional work morale is replaced by project oriented work and a higher desire for spare time. People have to create their own work. Traditional work is disappearing, and new capabilities are called upon. More than 95% of the companies are small entrepreneurs, among them lies the future. Big data is available, but few companies know how to use it. Still, most of the Finnish business decisions are based on gut feel. Strategic, marketing-oriented work will need to be increased in order for Finnish companies to succeed in international markets or to succeed against foreign players entering Finland. This is a major shift, as Finnish business has been very product oriented. In sum, the Finnish industry will be and must be characterized by a networked environment (subcontracting, outsourcing, co-creation), either cost competitiveness or differentiation, simplified global logistics and a combination of products and services.

PERSONAL DETAILS:
Patrik Anckar
Global Partner status (Associate – Executive – Senior): Senior
Country of registration: Finland
City of registration: Helsinki

SERVICE SKILLS:
Strategic Planning
Leadership
International Marketing
General Management
Entrepreneurship
Mergers and acquisitions
Product Conceptualization
Market Research
Project Management
Coaching

INDUSTRY SECTOR EXPERIENCE:
Consumer goods retail
Consumer goods imports
Leisure vehicles
ICT
Financial services
Advertising
Corporate finance
Food industry
Tourism
Real estate

QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENT:
Ph.D. – Swedish School of Economics
Master of Advanced European Studies – College of Europe
M.SC. – Åbo Akademi University

CLIENTS OR EMPLOYERS:
Smartbutlers
Otto Brandt
Solifer
Finn-Marin
Silver-Boats
Sampo Bank
Teleste
Nokia
Abo Akademi Univeristy
Svenska Handelshogskolan

LANGUAGES
English
Finnish
Swedish

PERSONAL PROFILE:
EDUCATION AND ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE: I received my M.Sc. from the Åbo Akademi University in Turku, Finland in 1990, majoring both in International Marketing and in Economics. After that I received a grant from the Finnish Ministry of Education to continue my studies at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. I got my Diploma of European Studies in 1991, and as a top-5% of the graduating class, I had the opportunity to write a thesis giving me a Master’s degree of Advanced European Studies in 1992. After that I decided to take a Ph.D. in business and to apply for a top university in the US. I received a scholarship from the Academy of Finland, and moved to the University of South Carolina, which at the time was ranked as number one in International Business Studies. Most of my Ph.D. work was done there and at the Stockholm School of Economics. The dissertation was approved in 1994 at the Swedish School of Economics in Helsinki. An article based on my dissertation was published in the Journal of Marketing in 1994, making me the first Finn to publish in that journal. Soon after that I was appointed Professor of Marketing at the Åbo Akademi University. BUSINESS EXPERIENCE: My academic career was short, as I left in 1995 for Nokia Mobile Phones. First, I worked as a product marketing manager in charge of the next generation GSM phones (e.g., 5110 and 6110). I gathered market and customer data, wrote the specifications for the phones, and supervised the development processes. This was a good basis for the understanding of the interplay between technology and consumer behavior. Not only did I get insight into product development but also put my mark on the, at the time, best selling phones in the world. Then, I moved into a strategic position, being in charge of the company’s global product positioning strategy. My role was to segment customers and to categorize phone concepts accordingly on a global basis. Nokia was the first player to systematically apply segmentation and positioning, which partly explains why it became number one in the field. From Nokia I was headhunted to Teleste, a leading European broadband supplier. First, I was in charge of Marketing and Strategy, the highlight being the listing of the company on the Finnish stock exchange. Next I was given the possibility to use existing broadband technology and to spin off a new business in the field of video surveillance networks. We ran this operation from Cambridge, UK. This business we took from scratch to a leading global position in three years. Having spent several years travelling the globe, I was eventually, due to family reasons, ready for a more stationary position. In 2002, I was headhunted to Sampo Bank to become the Regional Manager with the task to improve the bank’s local profitability. In order to achieve this, I downsized the operations to a significant degree. Having finished this project, I started my own company. After a few strategic internationalizing projects, I was asked to join some private investors in buying and developing SoliferPolar, a leading Nordic manufacturer of caravans. First, I shut down all the factory operations in Finland. Second, I ramped up the operations in Sweden, where we concentrated our manufacturing. Once the basis for the caravan business was settled, we broadened the scope by creating Solifer Group, for which I was appointed the CEO. We grew the company by several acquisitions. First we become the Finnish market leader of mopeds, scooters and bicycles. Then we went into boating, acquiring Silver-Boats and Finn-Marin. Finally, the business was enlarged into retail by buying some leading operators in Finland and Sweden. In 2008, we were a leading Nordic player in caravans and light vehicles, one of the biggest boat manufacturers in Europe, and on the brink to list the company. However, the recession of 2008 was of such magnitude, that no further financing was possible, and the group had to be divested. My task was to manage the boat business through the recession and to recapitalize it. I was the interim-MD of both Silver-Boats and Finn-Marin. In 2010-2011, I worked as an interim VP Marine at the Otto Brandt Group and later as the chief strategist at the same group. Today I work as a chief strategist and partner in Smartbutlers, a consulting company offering a wide range of services, such as strategic planning and execution, restructuring, marketing, leadership coaching and interim management. In the last few years, I have worked with several companies ranging from listed groups to smaller family-owned firms and start-ups. SUMMARY: My fields of expertise are strategic management, business development, corporate restructuring and international marketing. I have experience from global companies to start-ups, from analytics to hands-on, from industrial settings to services, from growth to downsizing, from entrepreneurial activities to board membership, from acquisitions to exits and from brand marketing to CEO-work. I have chosen to work in many industries to gain a broad understanding of business logics. These industries include ICT, banking, corporate finance, fast moving capital goods, retail, food, leisure vehicles, tourism, entertainment, advertising and real estate. Strategy is my biggest thing. I have been doing strategy in various forms and for a great number of firms, organizations and public institutions for almost 20 years. Over the years I have learnt how easily strategies fail due to poor implementation. Hence, my focus has become to translate strategies into operation and to coach managers in this process. I do enjoy international organizations, as I most of the time have worked with remote locations where my teams have been located around the word. I have lived in Finland, Sweden, Belgium, England and the US.

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
Helsinki – Finland
Stockholm – Sweden
London – UK
Washington DC – USA
Brussels – Belgium

Global Partner preferred location
City: Helsinki
Country: Finland

CONTACT
To contact Patrik Anckar (SGP), please forward an email to the Academy of Business Strategy.

Mindaugas Sologubas (AGP) – Vilnius (Lithuania)

Mindaugas Sologubas (AGP)THE ACADEMY OF BUSINESS STRATEGY - LITHUANIA

MINDAUGAS SOLOGUBAS (AGP) MSc BSc
ASSOCIATE GLOBAL PARTNER (AGP)

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION: Vilnius (Lithuania)
HISTORY
Lithuania was first mentioned in 1009 as a state, and in Middle Ages was one of most powerful kingdoms in Europe. Despite that, it was completely deleted from world map after World War II, and was a part of Soviet Union until 1991. Currently, Lithuania is EU member country since 2004, located near Baltic Sea, having ~3mln inhabitants. After re-gaining Independence in 1991, country fully rebuilt its life and economy. As country does not have significant natural resources, but has perfect geographical position and seaside, so the only vital alternative of development – worldwide service and transport center – was implemented. Furthermore, other direction of development – physical sciences and biotechnology – was highly stimulated. Other growing sectors were banking / financial services system, infrastructure and IT development, manufacturing, trade and agriculture. However, one of major obstacles for sustainable growth was high outflow of educated workforce, but up to now emigration processes are becoming much slower, even opposite direction flow is visible. GDP in general was growing year to year after 1991, with Russian crisis fall in 1998-2000. Other growth period with peak growth from 2006 to 2008 (from 24.1 to 32.5 billion EUR, ~35%), as a result of a massive economic boom until late 2008, was hit by world crisis with drop by more than 15% in years 2008-2010. According to various sources, Lithuanian economy will fully recover after 2008 crisis in 2014 (some sectors did that already 2 years ago). Significant support in country growth was delivered by European Union structural funds and various programs.

CURRENT POSITION
Modern Lithuania can be characterized as fast-developing science-orientated country with developed infrastructure and well-educated workforce. Furthermore, being quite a small country, it is one of most-diversified economies in region. Due to intensive industrialization under the Soviet regime, Lithuanian has strong industries of electronics, chemicals, machine tools, metal processing, construction materials and food processing. Privatization of majority formerly state-owned companies together with improvements of infrastructure boosted investment and modernization. Due to deep technical expertise and a well-educated workforce, the growing manufacturing industry in Lithuania is both cost-competitive and integrated into world markets. On the other hand, services sector is the one with highest growth rates, which reflects chosen alternative of development. Leading services are transports and financial services. Due to perfect usage of two international Trans-European transport corridors crossing Lithuania and ice-free Klaipeda sea-port, logistics account for 10.6% of GDP. There are more than 850,000 m2 of logistics and warehousing facilities, and Lithuanian fleet accounts for more than 25000 trucks. Recently, as a result of educated and relatively cheap talent pool and top-level ITC and office infrastructure, Lithuania became a leading country in region in the number of shared service and BPO projects (including such investors as Barclays Bank and Western Union). Lithuania is also a leader among Central and Eastern Europe countries in Life sciences, mostly known in biotechnology, lasers, electronics, medical devices, R&D pools. There are operating 5 integrated R&D and business centers (valleys), 2 free economic zones (Kaunas and Klaipeda), and several industrial parks. Even though Lithuania is quite small country (~3mln inhabitants), it has close relations and easy-access with other Baltic countries (Latvia and Estonia), thus making double-size market.

FUTURE OUTLOOK
In general, future outlook of Lithuania is very attractive. There are several main aspects to be considered. Firstly, sustained economic growth is reached in general, annual growth is still higher than EU average, and will be higher for some time because of still emerging country position. Due to perfect ITC and physical infrastructure, relatively cheap but very high skilled workforce, a lot of success stories of multinational companies, business-friendly law adjustments, the situation cannot become worse. Secondly, high attention is paid to R&D activities, funding and special incubators are created, which leads country to hi-tech produces status, and makes biotechnology, lasers, electronics, medical devices industries extremely attractive to invest in. And these industries is high value-added level producers, which gives good incentives to country growth. Thirdly, globalization processes will further benefit country, due to development of ITC and physical infrastructure, easy access to EU and CIS markets because of strong commercial and cultural ties. Fourthly, after 2008 crisis, lending and financial services changed a lot, and economy growth is not so much based on cheap and free-access money, so further crisis is not actually predictable. Finally, Lithuania will join Euro zone soon. Furthermore, Lithuanian Government is now focused on sustaining regional growth, which in general means better business starting and operating conditions in some regions. Taking into account country geography, there are no significant distances to reach any region, so working under regional policy will not bring any costs to business, but will benefit in terms of Government support, and also will give competitive advantage. Lithuanian Government also is working in terms of making business environment and attractiveness better, so continuous improvement it taxing system and business environment take place all the time. Information technology and telecommunications sector is one of the most promising sectors of Lithuania’s economy. This sector is expanding very rapidly, and already reach computer, internet and telecommunications usage rates far higher than EU average. However, there are also negative aspects in future outlook. External threats actually counts on Russia, which still have significant political power, as well as keep some Lithuanian sectors dependent on their supply/demand. These can be named as energy sector at most at supply side, and manufacturing/exports to Russia on demand side. Also, transportation sector is and will be significantly affected by political decisions on border crossings and customs procedures. Overall, Lithuania tries to become more and more economically independent form Russia, but the process will take quite long, and Lithuania serving as some kind of bumper will continue. Internal threats are more associated with political instability and emigration. Political instability is more as result of being young country, and situation becomes better every year. Emigration processes are slower now, but even with pretty high unemployment rate there are plenty vacant positions. However, this process starts turning vice-versa. Kaunas is second largest city (after capital Vilnius), and is actually the place to consider investments. The favorable geographical location, perfect road, rail, water and air infrastructure, strong R&D base, 7 universities, highly-skilled labor force, knowledge-based economy businesses and modern industry makes Kaunas region one of the most attractive places for investment in Lithuania and the Baltic States as a whole.

PERSONAL DETAILS:
Mindaugas Sologubas
Global Partner status (Associate – Executive – Senior): Associate
Country of registration: Lithuania
City of registration: Vilnius

SERVICE SKILLS:
Financial modeling
Corporate finance
Management finance
Evaluation/creation of management reporting system
Evaluation/creation of business processes applicability
Management of change
Cost/revenue structuring
Project management
CFO outsourcing
Management of Food/FMCG manufacturing

INDUSTRY SECTOR EXPERIENCE:
Food manufacturing
FMCG manufacturing/distribution
Building and Construction
Chemical manufacturing
Financial services and consulting
International trade and logistics
Agriculture

QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENT:
BSc – Stockholm School of Economics
MSc – Vytautas Magnus University

CLIENTS OR EMPLOYERS:
Admen
Granex
Achema
Vandens Linija

LANGUAGES
Lithuanian
Russian
English
Ukrainian

PERSONAL PROFILE:
My education is financial management of companies. I have Business Administration BSc from Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Latvia (specialization – Finance), later achieved MSc degree from Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania (specialization – Banking and Finance), writing a master thesis on effective SME financing issues. My first professional work experience (starting year 2000) was analyst position in financial brokerage start-up company, one of few ones that time. Due to high level education and analytical skills, I became professional corporate analyst. Further on, being eager to “touch physical business”, I started to work in Estonia based wholesale trade company on subsidiary evaluation, later promoted to manager of subsidiary company in Lithuania. Later on, the industry was changed by moving to Klaipeda to FMCG and trade, where I had manager position for 3 years. Major activities was to organize full supply chain management, including trade financing development, foreign operations outsourcing, transportation techniques, customs operations, working with supermarket chains. This experience gave me clear picture on this industry, as well as good management skills in different business and cultural environments. In 2005, I decided to change industries and try multinational business experience, which was at large fertilizer production company. My position as market manager was designed to search for new product/market opportunities for company. As result, several new products were added to R&D basket of the company. Also, it was valuable experience of working with different management levels in big company and better understand corporate behavior and culture. In 2006, my CFO carrier started. First company was in building/engineering filed. While working there for more than a year, I created project cost/profitability valuation techniques, and financial accounting/reporting system. I was first CFO in that company, so also had to prove the need of position as such. Then, in 2008, I started CFO position in food manufacturing company with several subsidiaries in different countries, where I created and implemented budgeting framework for company and foreign subsidiaries, improved internal management reporting system, improved product costing/pricing monitoring and management processes ant techniques, created and implemented several models into internal Business management software to make internal financial and management reporting serving actual needs of business. General CFO roles were also effected professionally. Next step was moving to Ukraine in 2011. The purpose was to prepare one of “sank” subsidiaries of the previous company for sale. It was hard food manufacturing company change process, which leaded to stabilized company performance, re-directed business processes, and return of shareholder funds. This experience added such skills as production company management, and CIS market functioning. After finishing Ukrainian project in June 2013, currently I run my own CFO outsourcing and financial consulting company in Lithuania, servicing clients with high level corporate finance consulting services.

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
Kaunas – Lithuania
Riga – Latvia
Nikolaev – Ukraine
Vilnius – Lithuania
Tallinn – Estonia

Global Partner preferred location
City: Vilnius
Country: Lithuania

CONTACT
To contact Mindaugas Sologubas (AGP), please forward an email to the Academy of Business Strategy.

Oldrich Kamaryt (AGP) – Pilsen (Czech Republic)

Oldrich Kamryt (AGP)THE ACADEMY OF BUSINESS STRATEGY - CZECH REPUBLIC

OLDRICH KAMARYT (AGP) RNDr.
ASSOCIATE GLOBAL PARTNER (AGP)

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION: Pilsen (Czech Republic)
HISTORY
The Czech Basin area, corresponding approximately with the present territory of the Czech Republic, was the zone of cultures encountering and drift. Location in the centre of Europe allowed influence mix between European north and south (Roman Empire), and east (Byzantium) and west (Germanic people) as well. Geographical position brought troubles frequently but its influence to society development was positive in generally. First ethnicity mentioned in written sources were Celts, Celtic tribe Boii gave the name to one of the Czech historical country – Bohemia (in Latin Boiohaemum) located in the west, other countries are Moravia in southeast and Silesia in northeast. Slavic settlement reached the territory in the 6th century, first Slavic state, Great Moravian Empire, was established in South Moravia at the beginning of the 9th century. In Czech lands dominated Premyslid dynasty established Czech Kingdom so far remaining subordinate to the Holy Roman Empire and German kings. The Czech throne was taken by Luxembourg dynasty in 14th century. During the reign of the most known king, Charles IV, the Czech lands experienced the Golden Age of their history. Charles IV was a highly educated man, an excellent diplomat and a very good king. He established Prague as the cultural capital of central Europe and made it one of the most prosperous European cities at the time. The Czech language was promoted to the official language in the country along with Latin and German, and the position of Bohemia became very strong. The Prague bishopric was upgraded to an archbishopric and when the king was crowned the Holy Roman Emperor in 1355, Prague’s status increased to the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. The Charles University was established to become first university in Central Europe, a lot of building projects are admired till today. The 15th century is marked by conflicts between the Protestants and the Roman Catholic Church. At the beginning of the century, a reform movement was started and lead by priest John Huss (Jan Hus). The killing of Hus started a massive protest movement by his followers, the Hussites. In 16th century the Habsburg (Austrian) dynasty took up the Czech throne, thus initiating the Habsburg rule over the country that lasted until 1918. Was reinstalled the Catholic religion and seat of power was moved to Vienna. Protests culminated in the Battle of the White Mountain in 1620, in which the Protestants were severely defeated by the Habsburgs. This battle resulted in the Thirty Years’ War that spread across Europe. The Czech language and national consciousness were suppressed for the next 150 years, Prague lost its importance. This period in Czech history is referred to as the Dark Age. Czech territory became a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A nationalist movement called the National Revival started at the end of the 18th century, attempting to bring the Czech language, culture and national identity back to life. Czech institutions were established to celebrate the Czech history and culture. The 19th century is also characterized by the Industrial Revolution and the building of factories. With the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I, the Czech lands and Slovakia jointly proclaimed the establishment of independent Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1918. Prague became the capital of the country and the Prague Castle became the seat of the first president of Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. The time between World War I and World War II is now called “the First Republic”. Czechoslovakia had a parliamentary democracy, concentrated 70% of the industry of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, and had an economy that was among the strongest in the world. In the mid-1930s, the German inhabitants of the Czech border areas called the Sudetenland began calling for autonomy. In September 1938, Germany, Britain, France and Italy signed the Munich Pact, giving Hitler the right to invade and claim Czechoslovakia’s border areas. On March 15, 1939, Czechoslovakia was invaded by Hitler’s army. The border territories were seized by Germany and the rest of the country was occupied by Nazi Germany until the end of World War II in 1945. The end of the war came with the Prague Uprising on May 5, 1945 and the subsequent liberation of Prague by the Soviet Red Army on May 9. The western territories of the Czech Republic, including Pilsen, were liberated by the American army. Soon after World War II, the power in the country went largely to the hands of the Communist Party and the first wave of nationwide nationalization of the industry and other areas of the economy took place. At the same time, some two million Germans were expelled from the country and their property was confiscated. The Communist Party seized complete power after the coup d’etat on February 25, 1948. This event marked the start of the Communist totalitarian regime that lasted until the Velvet Revolution of 1989. A second wave of nationalization took place and 95% of all privately owned companies became the property of the state. There were a number of political trials and executions in the following several years.

CURRENT POSITION
The late 1980s are characterized by public demonstrations. A week after the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the Velvet Revolution brought an end to communism. Vaclav Havel, former dissident, was elected president during the democratic elections in January 1990.On January 1, 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully split into two independent countries, Czech Republic and Slovakia, and Havel was elected the first president of the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and was approved to become a member of the European Union in 2002. On May 1, 2004 the Czech Republic joined the EU along with 10 other nations. Political changes started in 1989 offered extraordinary impact to national economy up, including radical restructuring of the whole political, social and economic systems. Transition from central planned economy to market oriented one has been supported by consistent liberalization, macroeconomic regulation, privatization, strict fiscal policy and creating a good climate for incoming investment. Using above mentioned macro-tools, Czech economy is reoriented to EU markets mainly, has an educated population (and workforce), developed infrastructure and conforming legal background for business. In order to stimulate the economy and attract foreign partners, the government offers investment incentives, for high technologies usage and working places creation mainly. Progress toward creating a stable investment climate was recognized when the Czech Republic to become the first post-communist country to receive an investment-grade credit rating by international credit institutions (nowadays by Standard & Poor’s between AA- and AA), macroeconomic indicators are under control due to restrictive state budget and monetary regulations of the Czech National Bank. Public budget debts come up to 46,8% of GDP, inflation (CPI) 1,3%, GDP growth -0,9% in 2013. Czech domestic currency (Czech crown) is fully convertible. Czech economy is open and relatively small economy depending on export and import, with Germany especially – territorial diversification of export (Germany 31,8%, Slovakia 9,1%, Poland 6,1%, France 5,1%, United Kingdom 4,9%), territorial diversification of import (Germany 29,5%, Poland 7,7%, Slovakia 7,4%, China 6,3%, Netherlands 5,8%, Russia 5,3%). Nowadays, industry is still very important to the economy of the Czech Republic. As regards the percentage share, industry stands at 35% (62.3% services, 2.8% agriculture). Over 40% of all economically active citizens work in the industrial sector. The main pillars of the Czech industry are engineering and machine engineering, mining, chemistry and foodstuff production, followed by the energy industry, civil engineering and consumer goods industry.

FUTURE OUTLOOK
It is not important to emphasize described country but open its advantages and possible role in business and cooperation. Market environment and its frequent variations causing difficulties in the future development intentions, is better to formulate built framework for the business and then find the feasible solution respecting offered opportunities. As has been mentioned above, the Czech Republic has changed conditions totally during next twenty years. Today is the Czech Republic country with market oriented opened economy oriented on export, with the sound legal background converting to the EU legislation and protecting investor’s interests, with the good industrial hinterland and the governmental support of international business. The Czech Republic has consolidated banking sector without toxic assets, greatest banks are subsidiaries of European known banks (Erste, KBC, Societé General, UniCredit, Raiffeisen), Czech currency is fully convertible. Due to export orientation (on EU markets mainly) and weaker domestic demand is national economy more sensitive on European financial and market trends, German one mainly. Economic environment depends on foreign demand and national economy is prepared for searching and supporting synergies and sustainable growth with foreign investors. Other strengths are location of the Czech Republic in the heart of Europe, solid infrastructure (both telecommunication and transportation) and good environmental and social conditions. Status of the Czech economy will emerge from a recession and start to grow in 2014. Positive assessment is underpinned by the PMI indices for the CEE region and the whole EU, as they have shown a nearly continuous improvement since summer 2013. The recovery will be driven by industrial production (on the supply side) and exports (on the demand side), as the Eurozone should continue to improve, and with further support from FX interventions against domestic currency conducted by the Czech National Bank (depreciation of Czech crown targeting core inflation to 2% y/y). Household demand will not improve materially before employment and wages pick up, i.e. not before 2H14. Fiscal restriction will have come to an end, contributing positively to economic growth in 2014. Macroeconomic forecast indicates the Czech economy to grow 1,5% in 2014 and 2,2% in 2015. Perhaps it is a return to the better times.

PERSONAL DETAILS:
Oldrich Kamaryt
Global Partner status (Associate – Executive – Senior): Associate
Country of registration: Czech Republic
City of registration: Pilsen

SERVICE SKILLS:
Corporate finance and economy
Business, finance and operational redesign, planning and forecasting
Strategic alliances, start-ups and post merger implementation and integration
Investment appraisal, feasibility studies
IFRS, US GAAP, SOX
Managerial and internal accounting, controlling and reporting
Profitability analysis and cost accounting
Costs and working capital optimization, risk management
project management and planning
ERP and supportive IT tools utilization

INDUSTRY SECTOR EXPERIENCE:
Automotive
Electronics
Electro assembling
Energetics
Engineering and industrial services
Transportation
Forwarding
Plastics manufacturing

QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENT:
Doctorate – Charles University
Post Graduate – University of Zilina

CLIENTS OR EMPLOYERS:
Daimler
Panasonic
MAN
Volkswagen
Siemens
Coca Cola HBC
Pilsner Urquell
GHE Happich
Alfa Plastik

LANGUAGES
Czech
English
Slovak

PERSONAL PROFILE:
Oldrich graduated at Charles University in Prague, Department of Economic and Regional Geography in 1981, postgraduate study of corporate economy and finance accomplished at University of Zilina (Slovakia) in 1985. These two ways of education, complexity of geography and corporate economy specificity, gave me rather wider angle of perception of the business, its legality, needs and tenable development. After study I started to work at Research Rail Institute, on the field of applied economy solving development tasks for the Ministry of Transport mainly. In 1990 I was a part of the group preparing Transformation Study of Czech Rails to Market Conditions, in cooperation with A.D.Little Consulting and EBRD experts (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development). My ground role was appraisal of fixed assets and its influence to possible future development and investment as well. One of outputs was Feasibility Study of Rail Net Reconstruction in Czech Republic and Slovakia. I established small software house dealing with application software creation for rail accounting system and rail infrastructure passport in 1992. After data conversion to SAP I started to work as finance manager at industrial corporations mainly from 1997.It were foreign corporations entering to the Czech market especially, which needed somebody who is able to control domestic regulations and apply corporate patterns within acquired companies. First one was Austrian Group VA TECH (1997-2004) which bought the biggest Czech electro assembling company EZ Prague. I worked on roll-out of information system (SAP), its adjustment to project oriented business (electricity distributions at nuclear power plants Temelin and Dukovany e.g.) and applications of group accounting, controlling and reporting patterns. I was hired as finance manager in 2004 by Mexican corporation Nemak, producing aluminium heads for car engines. Nemak decided to construct the greenfield plant , first of Nemak in Europe. I assured various permits for launching and construction, contacts with governmental authorities, funding of plant construction and equipment and after construction operative tasks – accounting, controlling, planning and reporting. One year later was established joint-venture between Nemak and Daimler, plant enlarged and former Daimler foundry removed from Germany to Czech Republic. My role was similar as in the case of Nemak plant construction and economic appraisal of equipment feasibility, what remove from Germany, what to buy completely new – in cooperation with German process engineers (Daimler owned majority of this joint-venture). Specific was joint-venture administration when Nemak Czech administration provided administration services, based on Letter of Agreement, for this joint-venture (accounting, taxes, controlling, planning, purchase, logistics, HR). Project of shared administration was under my responsibility – one company reported in US GAAP, second one in IFRS. My last experiences was with three companies, which were in economic troubles, I acted there as crisis manager mainly. Panasonic was special case based on great corporate expectations – unfulfilled. GHE Happich, German-Italian producer of car interiors, and Alfa Plastics, producer of injection molding plastics parts (automotive parts, shipping boxes and consumer goods) had the similar problems. Both companies were frozen cash flow and extreme high volume of products. Was necessary to reduce products, by degrees, find profitable ones and create a new production portfolio reflecting market potential, change internal processes with the aim of corporate profitability, find the wasteful parts of production process and change or cancel them. Source of these revisions were structured internal accounting, controlling and planning based on costs coverage principle, and convince employees, creditors and banks about feasibility of such solutions. It is necessary to solve the whole pack – market-> purchase -> production -> sales. Just such projects are feasible due to its multi-criteria starting-points and useful for decision making processes.

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
Prague – Czech Republic
Bratislava – Slovak Republic
Munich – Germany
Vienna – Austria
Warsaw – Poland

Global Partner preferred location
City: Pilsen
Country: Czech Republic

CONTACT
To contact Oldrich Kamaryt (AGP), please forward an email to the Academy of Business Strategy.

Rajjie Sarmey (EGP) – Richmond VA (United States of America)

Rajjie Sarmey (EGP)THE ACADEMY OF BUSINESS STRATEGY - UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

RAJJIE SARMEY (EGP) MS B.TECH
EXECUTIVE GLOBAL PARTNER (EGP)

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION: Richmond VA (United States of America)
HISTORY
US history dates back to early 16th century and has come a long way from revolution to reconstruction and beyond to becoming the only remaining superpower including the few developed countries in the world with an unchallenged economic, diplomacy and technological prowess. And Virginia is an integral part of this US history from not only an earlier colonial period and state perspective, but also as being the home of such Presidents as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and the “Mother of all Presidents” George Washington himself. Virginian US Presidents have contributed significantly from a constitution and declaration of independence charter perspective, thereby paving the way for continuously evolving the freedom, liberty and justice all around the world. Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement founded in North America with slavery introduced in 1671. The surrenders that ended both the American Revolution and the Civil War occurred in Virginia. The economic and revenue generating sectors in Virginia are primarily community, hospitality, business and personal services focusing through health care, hospitality, technology, and advanced engineering. The greatest growth was realized through technology sector with emphasis on government agencies including defense, security and intelligence areas. Tobacco industry that was once considered the primary livelihood of Virginia was eventually replaced by livestock products as the most valuable source of agriculture income. Virginia is known also for broilers, beef cattle, vegetable crops, and apple orchards, in addition to being a leader in crab and oyster production across United States. In terms of mining, coal is the main product of state of Virginia. The year 1790 marked the beginning of another chapter in US History and an advantage for Virginia being a neighboring State. Washington D.C or commonly referred to as D.C or ‘the District’ formally became the capital of United States with the signing of the ‘Residence Act’. This act gave U.S constitution the power to create a capital district in D.C and house centers of all three branches of US Federal Government including Congress, President and the Supreme Court. Bordering the capital Washington D.C also over a long time gave Virginia the proximity and access to a variety of economic, industrial, diplomatic and political advantages for its continued growth, prosperity and visibility nationally and internationally. Being home to Federal Reserve System including primary defense/intelligence agencies, revenue agencies and other critical national and international decision-making organizations have all given Virginia an edge over the other 49 states in terms of conducting businesses. This unique positioning, the integrated proximity to the capital of USA and its rich historical associations all differentiates Virginia and qualifies it truly as an economic and business headquarter of the world.

CURRENT POSITION
The United States of America (USA, US, America) is a developed country with one of the oldest democracies including the world’s largest economy with an estimated GDP of $16.7 trillion as of 2013 which is approximately a quarter of nominal global GDP. For more than a century, it has continued to remain the economic muscle and still maintains the diplomatic leadership. Still, Virginia and USA both are going through a painfully slow recovery past one of the worst economic recessions and post-war depressions of 2009. Several national issues need to be still addressed in their entirety i.e. across-the-board government spending cuts coupled with tax increases, a labor pool market struggling to gain momentum, recession in Europe, and rising economical powers of China and India. At this juncture, it is plausible that the recovery and hence globalization will continue due to these weaker aspects. In Virginia, employment expanded at 0.9% against a national average of 1.5%. This however contrasts with the pace of job losses nationwide compared from 2008 thru 2013 – an indication of faster employment recovery. Much of employment gains emerged from construction and governmental projects in flight during the last 4 years and associated high-tech, defense and intelligence spending. The housing market posted an 8.2% increase even though it was underscored by increased permits for new home construction in the last 2 years. Fiscal and monetary policies set forth by Federal Reserve System and FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) are starting to bring discipline around spending, funding, employment aspects and is expected to grow real GDP by about 1.8% in 2013 and 2.6% in 2014. All top 10 firms that received largest government contracts have a major presence in Virginia including Northrop Grumman which alone tops at $18.1B and the combined revenues ahead for the state of Virginia is more money than all but 3 states of USA. Virginian government has been a major beneficiary of federal government expansion program and spending particularly in areas of defense, construction and technology sectors. The economic impediment factors stated earlier have a significant impact on this strategic growth, but the City of Richmond and State of Virginia is uniquely positioned in number of ways to mitigate and manage these impediments and drive progress in housing market, income/revenue generation, technology, labor market, and sectors job growth. History and times have shown us that the state of Virginia and the United States both have the resiliency and resources to address the ups and downs of this economic cycle and turbulence effectively and avoid global catastrophes.

FUTURE OUTLOOK
We are at the cross-roads in humankind where business demand, fiscal/monetary policies and globalization including diplomacy and international trade/exchange laws will have to cohesively complement for success and sustainability. We are constantly coming closer to times in our life where business models and technology enablers are converging and shrinking faster following Moore’s law and the trend is going to continue. We are starting to see industry verticals and their associated business models coalesce to harness the power of one another competing for the revenue slice and market differentiation. America as a country and Virginia as an integrated state of the system will be shaping the future of the world in many ways in the decades ahead. US still remains in the top 5 of the World Bank’s Doing Business Indicators and the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index with its high per capita income reflecting the country’s high productivity—the broadest and single best measure of global competitiveness. Despite being home to just less than 5 percent of the world’s population, US along with Virginia’s hi-tech engineering and technological population forerunners accounted for 28 percent of global patent applications in 2008 and is home to nearly 40 percent of the world’s best universities driving innovation, research and most forward thinking economies globally. Over the next two decades, the United Nations expects the United States’ and Virginia population to grow by 17 percent embracing geographical diversity and its ability to integrate migrants. Nevertheless, the United States along with Virginia is also plagued by serious and growing challenges and problems. Health care is expensive and inefficient, public and private health spending is 50 percent higher per capita than that of the next highest Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) country. Virginia’s secondary education along with America is weak, with fifteen-year-old American students ranking only 31st of 65 countries in mathematics tests and 22nd in science tests in a survey that includes many developing countries such as India, Singapore, Australia, and China. U.S. income distribution is more unequal than other advanced countries with median household incomes declining since 1999. The U.S. tax system is complex and rife with distortions and has always encouraged borrowing, including for housing. Increased and on-going economic uncertainty post 2008 recession has fundamentally raised business costs along Virginia, US and the rest of the world. As a result, companies may choose economically viable option of freelance, temporary and par-time labor model. Baby boomers may choose to delay their retirement creating challenge to the younger generation and hence progress. The United States does retain military supremacy, but it is not cheap either. US defense spending basically exceeds in many cases several countries’ national GDP and entire economy in numbers. Virginia as a State mobilizes on this, but gets punished severely on any congress measures as a whole. Additionally, the polarizing political and dysfunctional system of US and Virginia is a key factor to waning economic and diplomatic supremacy – resulting in lack of leadership on emerging international arenas such as environmental control, trade negotiations, immigrations reforms, foreign aid proportional to its GDP including replenishing IMF reserves.

Approximately 1 billion people will be added to world population by 2040 and this new generation of middle-class empowered consumers will demand advanced education, entertainment, products/services in ways unheard of from economical and access perspective – fully driven by information technology. US along with Virginia – an advantage State – has always been in the forefront of these advanced engineering and enabling technologies, and will continue to be so in future unhindered by the sentiments on globalization, regulations and associated trade barriers impeding to this advancement. In fact, as a global leader in technology, US could be propelled to higher levels of economic success by innovations in medicine, biotechnology, communications, transportation, energy, information technology and internet. According to International Monetary Fund, controlling the federal debt (a component of GDP that measures the US and hence Virginian’s economy) by either increasing taxes or by reducing spending or both can effectively bring the debt to GDP ratio back to 77% against the existing 102% today on $17 trillion debt by 2030. Measures in place on fiscal and monetary policies via Federal Reserve and Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) could possibly jumpstart economy in real-terms in 2014 and put us in neighborhood of 3-3.5% GDP growth against 2-2.3 in 2013 actual. This translates to national unemployment dropping to 5.3% in next decade from 7.8% of 2012. Another diplomatic measure of success will be to involve in fewer wars and hence reduced related spending going forward. Inflation is another key economic indicator that can be controlled in a variety of ways including oil and gas prices, food prices, housing recovery, dollar valuation over time and not impeding globalization, import/export trade volumes significantly. It is hard to overstate the importance of the so-called nation’s metropolitan Virginia economy in the overall domestic (USA) and international landscapes. Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 37 of them belong to USA including Virginia. This illustrates that Virginia from a history, current state and future perspective will continue to influence and dominate diplomatically and economically. Certain international emerging economies like China and other markets present great opportunities, but could alter United States’ relative economic weight and that of its traditional allies. It is important that we as a country and state accept the rapid rise of these new global economic powers and work with the trend rather than against it. These emerging markets and nations are bound to cause disruptions including global imbalances and volatile currencies including monetary policies, ability to negotiate over trade and financial regulation. How this power shift is managed from a diplomatic perspective is of utmost importance from a State and superpower country perspective. In an optimistic successful scenario, one can argue that most of these threats are avoidable. Over the next two decades, diplomatic relationships with key international partners remain cautious but generally peaceful. Emerging and developed economies stay open and trade continues to grow rapidly and consistently. The United States addresses its fiscal deficit and succeeds in stabilizing its debt/GDP ratio over the next decade. The Euro zone remains intact and no new major financial crises erupt internationally. And the worst effects of climate change are avoided including a steady advancement in humankind. At that juncture we can say that the so-called ‘American Dream’ is once again becoming a reality from the myth for many middle-class American and Virginia citizens. But for all that to be true – United States of America and the State of Virginia in combination including all the 49 contiguous states must have all the checks and balances put in place, preserved and enhanced for a much longer period of time.

As pointed out by OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development – an organization that promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world) , the State of Virginia along with USA must assist in partnering with stakeholder governments in restoring confidence in markets, and the institutions and companies that make them function. And this will require improved regulation and more effective governance at all levels of political and business life. Secondly our state and federal governments must re-establish healthy public finances as a basis for future sustainable economic growth. In parallel, we must look at ways to foster and support new sources of growth through innovation, emerging technologies and environmentally friendly ‘green strategies’ to develop emerging economies. And finally to underpin innovation and growth required for all this sustainability, we need to ensure that people of all ages can develop the skills to work productively and satisfyingly in the jobs of today and be effectively prepared for tomorrow in multiple ways. The year 2040 is not far. We live in a face-face driven social information economy where technology is the DNA and common thread weaving our society. It is important that we speed up the process of understanding this DNA that binds our world of future and mature it to our benefit and common cause.

PERSONAL DETAILS:
Rajjie Sarmey
Global Partner status (Associate – Executive – Senior): Executive
Country of registration: United States of America
City of registration: Richmond VA

SERVICE SKILLS:
Innovation Management and Emerging Technologies
Business Strategy, Planning and Architecture
IT Strategy, Planning and Architecture
Social, Mobile, Cloud and Internet Computing
M&A, Off-Shoring, Out-sourcing and In-sourcing
Business Integration, Revenue and Operational Optimization
Leadership, Executive Management and Smarter Organizations
Board Level Engagement and Negotiations
Process Discipline, Management and Business Transformation
Program, Portfolio and Project Management; And Metrics and KPIs

INDUSTRY SECTOR EXPERIENCE:
Financial/Investment and Wealth/Asset Management
Banking/Financial Services
Credit Union/NCUA
Federal Reserve/Regulation/Compliance
Telecommunications/Networking/Provisioning
Insurance/Re-insurance Domains
R&D, Research Domains
Engineering and Manufacturing Domains
Internet, Media Domains
Social, Mobile, Digital Domains

QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENT:
MS Computer Science – Jackson State University
B.Tech Mechanical Engineering – Kerala University

CLIENTS OR EMPLOYERS:
Verizon Communications
US Bancorp
Federal Reserve System
Bell Labs
Lucent Technologies
AT&T
Nationwide Insurance
America Online/CompuServe
Convergys Corporation
Pentagon Federal Credit Union

LANGUAGES
English
Hindi
Tamil
Malayalam

PERSONAL PROFILE:
I have a Master’s Degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Jackson State University, USA and a Bachelor of Technology Degree in Mechanical Engineering from College of Engineering, Trivandrum, India with Distinction.

I started off my career in India as an Aeronautical Engineer with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL – the equivalent NASA in USA) focusing on initial realization of India’s first major defense program (designated Light Combat Aircraft – LCA and Advanced Light Helicopter – ALH) stressing on design, simulation and computing aspects. I was engaged in advancing computer aided design/manufacturing (CAD/CAM) and implementing complex simulation and expert systems using Fortran IV/77, LISP, C and embedded programming models/environment enabling automation and fly-by-wire aspects in fighter jet/helicopters.

In 1994-95, I began my career in USA as a consultant starting with Keane Inc and eventually got absorbed by Bell Labs. I led the first ISDN telephone network development including optimizing an advanced provisioning system in Netherlands and executing a multitude of major telecom transformations moving around Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies (which would eventually become Alcatel –Lucent in later years) and AT&T. During this time, I also championed a major Y2K risk-mitigation and management program as part of Lucent Technologies cross-industry assignment. In the year 2000, I moved to Texas and became the Chief Enterprise Architect responsible for integration of newly formed Bell Atlantic & Nynex merged entity i.e. Verizon Communications. Over the next two and half years, I successfully completed the technical M&A followed by disciplining the Verizon IT ($2.1B budget spend) to a CMMI level 3 organization. During my stay in Verizon, I also introduced the innovative ‘Fail early and Fail safe” business process discipline for larger more complex programs including institutionalizing the industry’s first Service Oriented Architecture/Web Service based business and IT architecture model re-shaping their IT in transforming their business model going forward. As part of my career, I was also responsible for consolidating the complex and geographically isolated provisioning and billing systems to a few efficient and manageable autonomous systems at enterprise level using business process rationalization and engineering.

Around 2003, I decided to get a different perspective in my career by moving to financial/banking industry with a complementing set of business and technology objectives/vision. The business vision/objective aimed towards clearly understanding the evolving dynamics in globalization; the changing US and International regulations/compliance aspects; and the economic impediments/impacts across the financial ecosystem. The technology vision/objective aimed at exploring and utilizing the emerging technologies as an enabler and means transforming enterprises including mitigating/managing targeted digital/social security constraints and warfare post September 11 event as well as practicing/ executing innovative model around “transforming ideas/concepts to important business decisions/outcomes”. By joining US Bancorp (5th largest bank in US) in 2003, I started gaining expertise and exposure to a complex set of these business and technical aspects. The major accomplishments in US Bancorp over the next six plus years were developing a centralized IT Strategy/Innovation Organization (focusing on Business Strategy, Enterprise Architecture, Product/Services Innovation) from the ground-up and streamlining the IT operational spend ($1.2B) to enhance innovation/research and create market differentiation for US Bank. As a Chief Technology Strategist and Divisional CIO of US Bancorp, I led the re-engineering of a decade old on-line banking environment to embrace a modern-era social/mobile channel and enabled a channel-agnostic banking experience via modernizing the existing mainframe banking system (using Service-Oriented (SOA)/Event-Driven (EDA) architectures, GRCS – Governance, Risk Management, Compliance, Security framework and a highly configurable and ontology/semantic-based ecosystem). During my stay in US Bank, I also institutionalized the program management discipline incorporating project and portfolio management including investment decisions and key performance metrics. I was also the US bank IT spokesperson and representative in industry forums, conferences and workshops. Developing a state-of-the-art product/service innovation lab concept and a pilot payment aggregator were two other accomplishments during my tenure with the bank.

In June 2010, I joined the Federal Reserve System IT as a Divisional Vice President and Managing Head to re-organize and transform their existing strategy, architecture and innovation organization servicing the twelve Reserve Banks and the Board of Governors entity. This gave me the opportunity to experience in-depth the financial regulations and standards such as GLBA, Dodd-Frank Act, FDIC, FCRA and the likes including FISMA, FFIEC, and Fed RAMP standards/frameworks. During my next 2 years of stay with Federal Reserve, I re-organized the structure for efficiency and better business alignment including enabling a community cloud brokering concept across Reserve Banks for cost, speed and time to market. I also enhanced the collaboration and sharing mindset across individual Reserve Banks from a development perspective via a System-wide reuse concept including developing a twitter-like model. I influenced the beginnings of an ITIL–motivated organization for operational effectiveness and predictability including measurements effectiveness and continuous process improvement. One of the critical accomplishments was standardizing the IT environment in terms of technology, tools and frameworks from a process discipline perspective to reduce the cost and enhance the speed to market.

In June 2012, I transitioned to a higher role of a Deputy CIO, CTO and COO combination across Pentagon Federal Credit Union (the 3rd largest credit union in terms of assets/revenue). In this capacity, I manage the entire IT organization including a dotted line reporting structure to CEO. Major accomplishments to date include re-organizing for efficiency and tighter engagement with senior leadership team, launching the beginning of a new IT platform thru a unique business and IT architecture transformation, injecting a variation of ITIL framework and industry standards for process efficiencies. My expertise and experience include but not limited to organization/people/process development, strategic planning, application development, program management including project/portfolio management, finance/budgeting/contracting/strategic vendor management, merger and acquisitions, off-shoring/out-sourcing & in-sourcing, idea/innovation management, and quality assurance including enterprise architecture and business strategy/roadmap development. A detailed review of accomplishments, subject matter expertise areas, certifications and references can be requested via contacting ABS directly.

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
New York – United States of America
San Francisco – United States of America
Boston – United States of America
Detroit – United States of America
Richmond VA – United States of America

Global Partner preferred location
City: Richmond VA
Country: United States of America

CONTACT
To contact Rajjie Sarmey (EGP), please forward an email to the Academy of Business Strategy.

Patrizia Saviolo (EGP) – Milan (Italy)

Patrizia Saviolo (EGP)THE ACADEMY OF BUSINESS STRATEGY - ITALY

PATRIZIA SAVIOLO (EGP) BA
EXECUTIVE GLOBAL PARTNER (EGP)

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION: Milan (Italy)
HISTORY
When thinking of Milan history, most people like citing the Visconti and Sforza families, as they contributed to the cultural and economical development of Milan during the Renaissance. That was in fact one of the most flourishing periods for Milan, both from a cultural and economic perspective. Anyway, we can’t speak about Milan past without citing its Celtic origins, dating back to 400 B.C. Since its foundation, the city has been a good example of cultural mix: Celts, Etruscans, Gauls dominated its territory until 222 B.C. when it was conquered by Romans and became part of the Roman Empire. Thanks to its geographical position, Mediolanum (that’s was the name Romans had given to the city) was like a bridge between Rome and the north of the Empire. After the decline of Romans, Milan was conquered by Longobards who moved their capital to Pavia. Milan started flourishing again only in 1117, when it became a municipality (“Comune”) and its first democratic laws were set. A century afterwards, the “Comune” system was over: the Visconti family gained power and started ruling the city. From 1277 to 1447 Milan knew a period of extraordinary culture and economic growth, thanks to the Visconti domination. Actually, most of its historical monuments (from the Palazzo della Ragione to the Duomo) date back that great period. When the last Visconti died in 1447, his son-in-law Francesco Sforza took the power. Under Sforza’s rule, Milan became a powerful capital where arts and culture were flourishing. Ludovico Sforza ”Il Moro”, who became Duke of Milan in 1480, called Leonardo da Vinci to his court and the city began its modern development. Agriculture was one of the main activities, while wool trade and silk production were the first example of the now famous fashion industry. Spanish conquered the Duchy of Milan at the end of the 15th century, imposing their rule and transforming the city into a mere province of their Empire. That was one of the darkest periods for the city, which had to wait until the Austrian domination at the beginning of 18th century to regain its economical and cultural vigour. Napoleon conquered the city in 1796, contributing to the development of a more democratic spirit. When he was defeated in 1814, Milan was given back to Austrians, but that signed the beginning of a period of hostility towards the Habsburg dynasty. This culminated in the “5 Giornate” rebellion which contributed to the liberalization of Milan by Piedmontese and French in 1848; in 1859 Milan was annexed to the Italian Monarchy. While Rome became the political site of the new-born State, Milan was given the role of economic and cultural capital.

CURRENT POSITION
The luxury business is for sure the first reason why Milan is known ad appreciated abroad. Many fashion houses have their headquarters at the heart of the city and the “Milan Fashion Week” is one of its most trendy and international events. But several other sectors have contributed to the economic development of a metropolis that is among the richest in the world. Back to the end of the Second World War, Milan developed a significant industrial sector, from automotive to chemical industries and, because of that, it started attracting a consistent flow of immigrants. The ability to attract and integrate different cultures has always been part of Milan history and has played an important role in its economical development. It’s not by chance that the city has become one of the most relevant financial centers in Europe. Today the tertiary and quaternary sectors contribute for more than 70% to the province economy. Despite the worldwide crisis, Milan has been able to keep an important role in Italy’s export (12% on total). About 90% of its companies are SMEs, but this hasn’t limited their capability to look at international trade as an important source of growth. According to recent statistics, 51% of Milanese companies have been generating revenues abroad for more than 10 years. Exports mainly come from traditional industries: steel, textile, apparel, automotive. On the other side, electronics and electrical engineering have been showing an increasing contribution to both the Italian GDP and the trade balance. Export is both oriented to EU and emerging markets (China, Singapore, North Africa, Turkey). Thanks to its international vocation, Milan economy can count on some big companies and groups, a true exception in a Country where family business is the norm. A concentration process started some years ago in relevant sectors like large-scale retailing, telecommunication, new technologies and banking. This helped several Milanese companies become estimated global players. The recent growth of Milan Stock Exchange is a consequence of this new trend, also encouraged by the development of a new market segment for SMEs (AIM segment). The Stock Exchange is actually proposing an alternative way to capital access in a Country where banks have always played a primary role.

FUTURE OUTLOOK
Local and central government policies are now focused on Expo 2015. They all see this international event as an important tool to revamp the Italian economy after several years of recession. This would be a true cat-show of Italian and Milanese excellences, but several threats risk vanishing at least part of the goals. Infrastructure activities may be delayed in an effort to contrast criminal organizations trying to enter this profitable sector. Milan will also be in the spotlight in terms of project management, as strict deadlines need to be respected in the organization of this event. How can Milan use this opportunity to show its true values and competencies? After this Great Downturn, the economic scenario has dramatically changed in terms of global players, consumption and purchasing habits, supply chain management, employment trends, credit access, social and environmental values. Food, fashion and tourism are three important resources to Milan, Lombardy and Italy but need to come with strong management skills and financial support. That’s where Milan can really play a primary role. From US to Germany and France, new forms of credit have been spreading to support the development of companies. The private placement segment is among them: this is a suitable form of financing for non-quoted enterprises. Milan can’t risk missing this opportunity in a Country of SMEs. The financial industry needs to set the rules and the premises to develop this form of capital market. On the other side, even small companies which want to grow have to prepare themselves in terms of corporate finance and reporting capabilities. A wider access to financial resources will be possible only to those able to provide solid analysis on their business perspectives and actual results. On the other side, for many years non-financial companies have almost ignored financial risk analysis and management. That’s another area Milan needs to focus on. Real economy enterprises have to set their own hedging strategy, while the financial sector has to provide them with suitable hedging products. The ability to manage worldwide supply chain is another area where Milan needs to invest: moving fresh food and fashion goods in a timely and efficient way requires both logistics skills and sophisticated software tools. An increasing portion of sales will go through the Internet and advanced platforms will be required to manage both data and physical flows. All this services will need to be available to a network of enterprises which will collaborate along different stages of the supply chain or together in same stage (shared financial services, sales professionals, etc.).Highly skilled workers and a collaborating environment with universities and consultants will be an important step. While it’s true that the new technologies have significantly changed the ways of working and communicating, Milan can’t forget that physical infrastructure will continue representing a true value for its economic development. By trying to sell experiences before products, the city will have to welcome tourists from airports, highways, railway stations and offer them customized tourist services: arts, fashion tours, food and tasting, natural park visits… Risks may be high, but Milan businesses have a long experience to avoid past errors in those fields.

PERSONAL DETAILS:
Patrizia Saviolo
Global Partner status (Associate – Executive – Senior): Executive
Country of registration: Italy
City of registration: Milan

SERVICE SKILLS:
Corporate Finance
Finance and Business Due Diligence
Business and Financial Planning
Budgeting and Forecasting
Management Reporting
Cost Accounting and Profitability Analysis
Financial Statements Analysis
IFRS – US GAAP
Financial Risk Management
Finance Processes and Organization

INDUSTRY SECTOR EXPERIENCE:
Mechanical Industry
Retail Business
FMCG
ICT
Textile and Apparel Industry
Chemical Industry
Not-for-Profit Sector
Insurance Business
Large-Scale Retailing
Training Services

QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENT:
CFA Charter – CFA Institute
Board Academy Program Certificate – Bellisario Foundation
Strategic Finance Certificate – IMD
Bachelor Degree in Economics and Business Administration – University of Turin

CLIENTS OR EMPLOYERS:
Hewlett Packard Italy
Levi Strauss Italy
Gea Consulenti
Riello Group
TMG
Toyo Tanso Europe
ICTeam
Pavia Sviluppo
Riello industries
Steeltecnica

LANGUAGES
Italian
English
French

PERSONAL PROFILE:
Patrizia graduated magna cum laude at the Italian University of Turin in March 1993, with a dissertation on exchange risk management. In August 1993 she was hired by the Italian affiliate of Hewlett Packard, where she started her career as a financial analyst. Her original responsibilities included cost accounting and manufacturing reporting for a printer business line. In this role, she worked with the US headquarter to improve the costing methodology and with the local management team to develop make-or-buy analysis, while taking costs under control. She was then assigned the responsibility of forecasting and P&L reporting for the same business line and a new-born one. In addition, she was involved in several project analysis: inventory control, supply chain design, product roll-out, working with both Italy and US division management. Thanks to her university background, she also provided the Geneva Financial Headquarter with exchange rate risk analysis for the Italian affiliate. After taking on additional responsibilities as team leader, she decided to leave the company for a managerial role in Levi Strauss Italy, where she was hired in Spring 1996 as Planning and Reporting Manager. In her new role, she pushed to redesign her department organization and processes, also involving Treasury and Administration in the project. The result was a leaner month-end closure, more leverage on people’s unique skills, additional tools for value-added analysis. At that time, Patrizia was directly reporting to the CFO and mainly working on top management projects, both in Italy and with the Brussels Headquarter. One of her main responsibilities was the support in price setting and profitability analysis, where she was an adviser to the CEO, the Commercial Director and the Merchandising Manager. She also supported the sourcing process with cost analysis and contributed to the development of the direct store channel and franchisee retailing. Having a natural attitude for non-routine activities, Patrizia decided at that point to find job opportunities in the consultancy business. She felt she needed to face new challenges by working in different environments, industries, projects. Gea Consulenti, an Italian consultancy boutique, took Patrizia on board in Spring 1998. She initially worked on ERP blue prints, contributing to the definition of finance processes and reporting models. She was also involved in the implementation phase, assuring the successful transition to the new ways of working. At the same time, she supported several GEA partners and colleagues with ad hoc financial analysis related to supply chain projects, business planning, profitability analysis, international due diligence. She worked for well-known GEA’s clients, also including Coin Group, Stefanel, Prénatal, Incotex, Bolton Group. Having improved her technical skills and experience, Patrizia decided to leave GEA to start an independent activity and develop her own intrepreneurial approach. She started working for new Clients and collaborating with consultancy and IT companies on specific projects. The continuous exposure to different contexts helped Patrizia become aware of new opportunities arising in the non-financial sector. In fact, she had realized that most companies were limiting their management reporting to the economic side and deserving poor attention to balance sheet, cash flow, financial risk management and, more in general, to corporate finance. As a consequence, she decided to enrol in the CFA Program: the right tool, she thought, to provide her Clients with stronger financial skills. Thanks to that, she could work on various value-added projects, including restructuring, due diligence, financial planning and reporting, strategy and competition analysis. She also helped some Clients of her manage and improve the relationship with banks, auditors, suppliers, customers. Several companies could easily develop tools and methods to define financial KPIs and regularly monitor them. Patrizia’s experience in this field covers some specific industries: mechanical, retail, insurance, ICT. In addition, she has both worked for quoted groups and Italian SMEs, also including family businesses. As a CFA Charterholder, Patrizia is obliged to adhere to a strict code of professional conduct and ethics which requires, among other duties, to reveal potential conflict of interests in advance. Patrizia is also Regular Member and a volunteer in CFA Society Italy and Member of ANDAF, the Italian Association of CFOs. In 2012 she was selected to attend the Bellisario Foundation Corporate Board Program, that she successfully completed in 2013. One of Patrizia’s passions is writing. She has written for the Italian Association of CFOs, Seeking Alpha, L’Impresa, BackToWork24, Mark-Up, Largo Consumo. In those articles, she makes leverage on her professional experience by sharing competencies and lessons learnt in the projects she has followed.

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
Milan – Italy
Lausanne – Switzerland
London – United Kingdom
Ljubljana – Slovenia
Prague – Czech Republic

Global Partner preferred location
City: Milan
Country: Italy

CONTACT
To contact Patrizia Saviolo (EGP), please forward an email to the Academy of Business Strategy.

William Hlakoane (EGP) – Johannesburg (South Africa)

William Hlakoane (EGP)THE ACADEMY OF BUSINESS STRATEGY - SOUTH AFRICA

WILLIAM HLAKOANE (EGP) MBA B.Tech
EXECUTIVE GLOBAL PARTNER (EGP)

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION: Johannesburg (South Africa)
HISTORY
Johannesburg was founded in 1886 during the discovery of Gold by Australian prospector named George Harrison; the gold rush attracted fortune hunters from all over the world including black migrant workers from southern parts of Africa. During the 1890’s large mining companies had created wealth for their companies. At the beginning of the twentieth century the population in Johannesburg rose to 100,000 due to the influx of people looking for work mostly black people, which then forced the British colonial rule to relocate the black people in the outskirts of the central city. During the 1930’s, the city’s black community doubled due to the boom in the manufacturing sector. The first democratic elections took place in 1994, where after the discriminatory laws were scrapped and the black townships around Johannesburg were slowly integrated in municipal government. Today the population of Johannesburg is estimated at 4.4 million which ranks number one in the country in terms of population size. Furthermore, the city is growing at a rapid pace as Johannesburg is seen as an economic hub of South Africa, it has attracted migrants from around neighboring countries such as Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Zambia, Nigeria and other Central African countries as people come to Johannesburg to seek a better life, many have either been disposed by wars, hunger, and some are here to further their studies in local Universities in the city. Other migrants come from neighboring cities to seek settlement here in what is termed the “City of Gold”, it is a fact that the average citizens of Johannesburg enjoy a higher standard of living than those living in other cities in South Africa.

CURRENT POSITION
The city of Johannesburg provides a gateway to other markets in other cities or provinces as it is located in the heart of the country, the city is highly industrialised and provides its inhabitants with good standard of living compared to other cities in the country, however crime remains high in the city and government seem to be winning the fight against crime. Johannesburg houses major sectors like mining, services, banks and manufacturing which constitute 74% of corporate and 59% is IT enterprises which includes large accounting firms, legal and media firms. Furthermore, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) which is the largest in the continent and one best performer in the hold is situated in Johannesburg. The city has seen a positive economic growth in the last few years with the GDP growth rate above the national growth rate. The city is dependent on services which are crucial to the economic growth especially the financial and business services. Manufacturing, transport, finance and services play a major role in the city’s economy while the primary sector in the national economy like mining, agriculture, energy and construction play a secondary role in the economy of the city. It is important to note that the mining sector which in essence gave birth to the city has diminished throughout the years, with the service sector taking control of the economy of the city. The vast majority of the middle class in South Africa lives in Johannesburg and their appetite for goods and services bolster the economy of the of the region. Johannesburg boasts the best telecommunication, and roads infrastructure with the local government continuing to invest billions of Rands to upgrade the roads infrastructure. The research commissioned by the city shows that Johannesburg has two active power stations with a capacity to generate 600MW of power to its inhabitants, meaning that the municipality can offer the community electricity at reasonable rates and also provide employment to the communities around the city. As per the Premiers 2012 budget speech, it is imperative to foster partnership with the department of communication and city of Johannesburg to develop a smart city at Nasrec precinct in Johannesburg, improving water treatment, and focus on road infrastructure improvement and maintenance.

FUTURE OUTLOOK
The outlook for the city of Johannesburg looks positive with the output of the city expanded by more than 4% in recent years. According to the city of Johannesburg Annual Economic Review (2011), the city will continue to grow around 4%, with expected growth of 5% in 2015 outpacing the national growth which is expected to grow by 2.7% in 2013, 3.5% in 2014 and reaching 3.8% in 2015. Gauteng province generates 33% of the national GDP with Johannesburg contributing 16% of national GDP and 47% to the provincial economy largely due to highly diversified economy. It is estimated that the city of Johannesburg will reach a GDP of R336.7 billion by 2015 driven by the finance and business sectors. While the population is expected to grow further, the unemployment in the city remains high at 25%, 0.6 recorded in Q2 -2013% below the national unemployment rate. Unemployment remains key to economic growth both nationally and in the city, the research shows that South Africa lose up R550 billion a year due to illiteracy, which in essence is the contributor to high unemployment rate. In order to address the socio-economic and environmental challenges, the city has adopted a Growth and Development Strategy 2040 which defines the vision of the city to become a World Class African City of the future. GDS 2040 is guided by the principles of eradicating poverty, building and growing the inclusive economy, building sustainable human settlements, ensuring resources and environmental sustainability, achieving social inclusion through support and enablement and promoting good governance, central to the inclusive economic growth is the balance between political efficiency and empowering business friendly environment. With the city attracting more migrants, the public transport remains key role to the economic sector, the introduction of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Gautrain helped to ease the burden of shortage of transport system, however more integrated transport system is needed especially in the townships where the majority of people are dependent on the public transport system. The city is likely see to further growth and development as the local and economic development (LED) drives to implement growth and employment strategies together with local business sectors for its citizens.

PERSONAL DETAILS:
William Hlakoane
Global Partner status (Associate – Executive – Senior): Executive
Country of registration: South Africa
City of registration: Johannesburg

SERVICE SKILLS:
Maintenance management strategy
Operations management
Business strategy
Maintenance, Engineering and operations optimisation
Business process re-engineering
Buisness integration
Leadership

INDUSTRY SECTOR EXPERIENCE:
Mining
Energy
Rail and Transport

QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENT:
MBA – Milpark Business School
B.Tech Mechanical Engineering – Central University of Technology
National Diploma Mechanical Engineering – Central University of Technology
Professional Engineering Technologist – Engineering Council of South Africa

CLIENTS OR EMPLOYERS:
African Barrick Gold plc
Gold Fields
Harmony Gold Mining
Eskom
Spoornet
Central University of Technology

LANGUAGES
English
South Sotho
Afrikaans
Setswana
Sepedi

PERSONAL PROFILE:
William is a registered as a Professional Engineering Technologist with the Engineering Council of South Africa; he holds a ND Mechanical Engineering, B Tech Mechanical Engineering, and MBA. He is an assertive individual with ability to solve complex problems, a strategist with good leadership skills and is a people oriented person. William has expertise in operations management, strategic management, maintenance and Engineering management, maintenance systems audits, Project management, maintenance systems implementation and controls, financial management and analysis, strategy development and business strategy development, he has experience working with major consulting companies like KPMG in various projects. Williams career of over 16 years started with lecturing at the Central University of Technology in South Africa where he was responsible for assisting students in Mathematics, Mechanics and Engineering drawing for a period of one year and then going to the Railway and Transport Industry, Energy and Mining industries. After his lecturing stint, he joined Spoornet (Transnet Freight Rail) as an Engineering Technician and later took up a position as a Technologist where he worked with fleet management as an advisor to the fleet manager. As he gained experience he moved to mechanical workshops where he was supervising the maintenance of vehicles, trucks, forklifts, rail maintenance and bridge inspections, due to his outstanding performance he was then seconded to move to Transnet’s corporate offices in Johannesburg joining a newly formed mechanization department where he headed rail maintenance mechanised machines, overhead lines inspections machines and all mobile machines, during this period he was responsible for rail maintenance, inspections and sleeper relaying using mechanised machines and bridge maintenance. After spending over 8 years in the rail industry he felt a need for a paradigm shift and opened himself up for an opportunity in the mining industry where he started as a management trainee at Harmony Gold mining. With over 8 years experience gained in the rail industry he had good understanding of deep level mining and the importance of the integration of different departments like engineering, mining, surveying and also understanding the laws that govern the mining industry in South Africa (Mining Health and Safety Act). With two years extensive training in the mining industry he took an appointment as an Auxiliary Plant Engineering Manager at Eskom where his responsibilities amongst other included looking after the water treatment plant, the slurry plant (Water decanting and Ash separation plant), the sewage plant, lifts and lifting equipment, ash dams, Boiler bottom ash removal and pumping system and fire protection system in the power plant. William’s achievements include helping with the re-design of the water reticulation system in the power station, refurbishment and modernizing of elevators, refurbishment of the slurry plant, re-designing of the coal transfer chutes and upgrading the fire protection system of the generators. William realised that the company was faced with huge downtimes due to the aging plant even though maintenance was carried out; he then proposed these projects which were later approved by the board to be implemented by the company. He then relocated to Johannesburg where he joined Gold Fields and later African Barrick Gold as Unit Manager Engineering and Reliability Engineer respectively; handling different assignments in Continuous Improvement Reliability Engineering and Maintenance, he successfully implemented activity based costing using SAP BW, developed maintenance management strategy using Reliability Centered Maintenance methodologies, initiated cost saving projects like hydro carbon management, initiated and implemented maintenance optimisation project that realised initial cost saving of $9 million at its initial stage of implementation, and developed cost analysis tools for open pit mining maintenance fleet in order to provide accuracy in budgeting and plant life cycle costing. Through his years of experience in various industries he has gained good business practices and learned different methods to make business sustainable through ground breaking business interventions, he is a dedicated person who wants to help organizations implement business processes and procedures that will help them thrive, grow and maximise their profits and develop growth and sustainable strategies that will increase shareholders value and competitiveness, reduce inefficiencies and develop standardised processes to save costs and increase flexibilities in the business. William is hands on person, well qualified, skilled, analytical and practical management consultant and has good understanding of both operational and executive requirements of business as a whole.

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
Johannesburg – South Africa
Dar es Salaam – Tanzania
Lusaka – Zambia
Nairobi – Kenya
Beijing – China

Global Partner preferred location
City: Johannesburg
Country: South Africa

CONTACT
To contact William Hlakoane (EGP), please forward an email to the Academy of Business Strategy.

Kris Meert (AGP) – Valencia (Spain)

Kris Meert (AGP)THE ACADEMY OF BUSINESS STRATEGY - SPAIN

KRIS MEERT (AGP) MS
ASSOCIATE GLOBAL PARTNER (AGP)

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION: Valencia (Spain)
HISTORY
Valencia is the third largest city in Spain and the 15th most populated municipality in the European Union, it has a population of 809267 within its administrative limits on a land area of 134,6 km2. The 15th century was a time of economic expansion, known as the Valencian Golden Age, in which culture and arts flourished. Concurrent population growth made Valencia the most populated city in the Kingdom of Aragon. Local industry, led by textile production, reached great development and a financial institution, called the Canvi de Taula, was created to support municipal banking operations. At the end of the century the Silk Exchange building was erected as the city became a commercial empire that attracted merchants from all over Europe. In the early 20th century Valencia was an industrialized city. The silk industry had disappeared but there was a large production of hides, skins, wood, metals and foodstuffs. Small businesses predominated but with the rapid mechanization of the industry larger companies were being formed. World War I greatly affected the Valencian economy, causing the collapse of its citrus exports. The establishment of the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera in 1923 tempered social unrest for some years but not the growing political radicalization of the working classes. The Republic (1931–1939) opened the way for democratic participation and the increased politicization of citizens. This climate marked the elections of 1936, won by the Popular Front political coalition which promoted the fervor of the masses. For some months there was a revolutionary atmosphere, gradually neutralized by the government. The inevitable march to civil war and the combat in Madrid resulted in the removal of the capital of the Republic of Valencia. On November 6th 1936 the city became the capital of Republican Spain. On March 30th 1939 Valencia surrendered and the Nationalist troops entered the city. The post-war years were a time of hardship for Valencians. During Franco’s regime speaking or teaching Valencian was prohibited. The dictatorship of Franco forbade political parties and there began a harsh ideological and cultural repression. The financial markets were destabilized causing a severe economic crisis during which rationing was imposed; a black market in rationed goods existed for over a decade. The economy began to recover in the early 60s and the city experienced an explosive population growth through immigration spurred by the jobs created with the implementation of major urban projects and infrastructure improvements. With the advent of democracy in Spain, the ancient Kingdom of Valencia was established as a new autonomous entity, the Valencian Community.

CURRENT POSITION
Valencia enjoyed strong economic growth over the last decade, much of it spurred by tourism and the construction industry, with concurrent development and expansion of telecommunications and transport. Air Nostrum, a regional airline, is headquartered in Valencia. The city’s economy is service-oriented, as nearly 84% of the working population is employed in the service sector. The city still maintains an important industrial base, with 5,5% of the population employed in this sector. Agricultural activities are still carried but with a relatively minor importance of only 1,9% of the working population. Since the outbreak of the crisis in 2008, Valencia has been amongst the Spanish regions most affected by it and it has not been able to slow down growing unemployment rate, growing government debt etc… Severe spending cuts have been introduced by the city authorities. In 2009, Valencia was the 29th fastest improving European city. Its influence in commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science and arts contributes to its status as one of the world’s “Gamma”-rank global cities. The large factory of Ford Motor Company lies in a suburb area of the city. Valencia’s port is the biggest on the Mediterranean west-coast, the first of Spain in container traffic since 2008 and the second of Spain in total traffic, handling 20% of Spain’s exports. The main exports are foodstuffs and beverages. Other exports include oranges, furniture, ceramic tiles, fans, textiles and iron products. Valencia’s manufacturing sector focuses on metallurgy, chemicals, textiles, shipbuilding and brewing. Small and medium sized industries are an important part of the local economy and unemployment is lower than the Spanish average. Starting in the mid-90s, Valencia saw rapid development which expanded its cultural and tourism possibilities, and transformed it into a new vibrant city. The city has numerous convention centers and venues for trade events.

FUTURE OUTLOOK
Economic growth is expected to return to positive territory in 2014 under the usual no-policy-change assumption. The rebalancing of the economy is expected to proceed over the forecast horizon. Private consumption is forecast to continue to contract on the back of rising unemployment and household deleveraging, although the contraction of households’ gross disposable income is set to ease in 2013.Exports are set to remain strong and to contribute positively to GDP growth. Despite a weakening outlook for the Euro area, the main destination of Spanish exports, export sales have shown significant resilience. Improvements in price competitiveness and strong increases of exports towards emerging market economies support this positive outlook. Alongside the relatively good performance of exports, imports are contracting sharply due to weak domestic demand. As a result, Spain has reduced its overall external deficit and is set to record a current account surplus from now onwards. In 2013, the effects of the latest labor market reform should start to have a more noticeable effect, allowing a more balanced adjustment between wages and employment, which could reduce the pace of job destruction. There are already signs that wages are becoming more sensitive to the economic situation, with a clear moderation of wage growth in 2012. This wage moderation is taking place alongside significant increases in apparent labor productivity. As a result, Spanish cost competitiveness is improving, which is a necessary factor for the continuing expansion of exports. Following the entry into force of additional consolidation measures (increase in VAT, elimination of the Christmas bonus in the public sector, corporate tax measures), budgetary consolidation advanced in the final months of 2012. Also at regional level, expenditure cuts in education are expected to have had their main impact in the last quarter. For the year as a whole, the deficit is therefore expected to narrow to about 7% of GDP, down from 8.9% in 2011, excluding in both years the effects of bank recapitalizations. In 2013, the general government deficit (excluding bank recapitalizations) is expected to narrow somewhat further, thanks to discretionary measures likely to more than offset the impact of the continued recession. The general government deficit is forecast to reach around 6¾% of GDP in 2013. Stronger VAT revenues due to the full effect of the rate hike and some increased cost control should outweigh an increase in expenditure on social transfers and interest. Despite the return to positive, albeit weak, growth in 2014, the general government deficit is expected to deteriorate to around 7¼% of GDP on a no-policy-change assumption, due to the possible expiry of some of the measures introduced in 2012. Large public deficits, negative or low nominal GDP growth and the costs of bank recapitalization are likely to result in a rise of the general government gross debt from around 88% of GDP in 2012 to above 100% of GDP in 2014.

PERSONAL DETAILS:
Kris Meert
Global Partner status (Associate – Executive – Senior): Associate
Country of registration: Spain
City of registration: Valencia

SERVICE SKILLS:
Business Strategy and Development
R&D Software, Hardware and Solution Engineering Management
IT, Partner and Customer Service Management
Competitive Business Analysis
Process Engineering Improvement Management
Risk Management
Program and Project Management
Mainframe and Open Systems High-End Storage Expert
Disaster Recovery and Performance Expert

INDUSTRY SECTOR EXPERIENCE:
IT Service Providers
Airlines
Financial Institutions
Government Institutions
Manufacturing Industry
Car Industry

QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENT:
Master of Science – KAHO Gent
PMP – PMI

CLIENTS OR EMPLOYERS:
Hewlett-Packard
Comparex
IBM
Bankia
BNP Paribas Fortis
Dutch Tax Office

LANGUAGES
English
Spanish
Dutch
French
German

PERSONAL PROFILE:
I graduated with distinction in 1995 from KAHO Sint-Lieven in Gent, Belgium with a master degree in science (electro-mechanics). In 1996, I received a master’s honor degree in science and technology from the Flemish Chamber of Engineering (Belgium). I started my international career as a development and production engineer at Solideal N.V. where I investigated the impact of rolling resistance on Industrial tires. To perform quality assurance and control, I ended up travelling between the R&D site located in Belgium and the manufacturing site located in Sri Lanka. My next career step was at IBM N.V. in Belgium. I started as a customer engineer and provided post-sales technical support for mainframe server, storage and networking products to Belgian IBM accounts. After gathering experience in the hardware sector, I decided it was time to gain knowledge about the software business and I became a mainframe systems engineer. I was responsible for the architecture, presentation and implementation of complete IBM mainframe server and storage solutions at large IBM enterprise customers. Some examples of large customer accounts I was responsible for are Fortis AG Bank, Dexia Bank, Interbrew, Eurocontrol, Toyota…In 1999, I started to work for Comparex N.V. in Belgium (a BASF company) as a senior consultant where I was responsible for the success of the server, storage and services business growth and total customer experience. I had a particular focus on both the IT mainframe and open systems market. I acted and contributed as a member of the expert consulting team by providing assistance and backup to team members and other field colleagues. Some examples of customer accounts I was responsible for are National Bank of Belgium, Axa Insurance, Belgian Ministry of Defense, Belgian Tax Office…In 2000, I joined Hewlett-Packard N.V in Belgium, where I started to work as a senior storage solution architect and consultant for the EMEA (Europe, Middle-East and Africa) region. I was responsible to provide leadership and support in both pre-sales and post-sales engagements to sales and support colleagues, primarily across EMEA, on relevant services within the HP technical services portfolio. I acted as a subject matter expert, drove and contributed to the service deployment activity of identified technical services. I worked across the entire life cycle and value chain with the responsible sales representative in a solution architect and consulting role preparing the information required assisting with the proposal & quoting for the technical sale & subsequent project delivery and management to the customer. I have a proven track-record with customers such as Bankia (Spain), Bundes Rechnung Zentrum (Austria), Dutch Tax Office (Netherlands), LDS (Germany)…In 2002, I relocated to Hewlett-Packard in Spain. I was promoted to master in the technical and program management career path. I was responsible for enabling EMEA countries to win storage business by supporting local teams with technical trainings, customer briefings, workshops, benchmarks, proof of concepts, new product introductions, architectural design and RFP support, technical information tools and post-sales support. I supported the EMEA storage business unit and the product marketing team by providing technical marketing activities such as event support, road shows… I ensured that revenue opportunities associated with storage solutions were maximized. In 2007, I joined the Hewlett-Packard data center development unit, where I held several worldwide positions such as factory consultant, program manager and engineering manager. Today, I am a recognized worldwide storage authority to customers. I represent storage technologies, theories and techniques to the CxO levels of customers and partners and I drive storage development and innovation. I lead and participate in cross-division, multifunctional and multicultural teams and programs that affect long-term storage goals and objectives. I have a proven track-record with several Fortune 100 customers.

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
San Francisco – USA
New York – USA
Paris – France
Brussels – Belgium
Rome – Italy

Global Partner preferred location
City: Valencia
Country: Spain

CONTACT
To contact Kris Meert (AGP), please forward an email to the Academy of Business Strategy.

Rizwan Asghar (SGP) – Dubai (United Arab Emirates)   Leave a comment

Rizwan Asghar (SGP)THE ACADEMY OF BUSINESS STRATEGY - UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

RIZWAN ASGHAR (SGP) DBA MBA MCom BCom
SENIOR GLOBAL PARTNER (SGP)

RELATED LINKS
Rizwan Asghar – Certified Business Specialist (CBS) Professional Articles

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION: Dubai (United Arab Emirates)
HISTORY
The independent Sovereign Nation of Qatar is located on a peninsula in the Midwestern portion of the Arabian Gulf. Sharing land and water borders with Saudi Arabia, it is also shares maritime borders with Bahrain, Iran and the United Arab Emirates. Habitation on the peninsula appears to date back at least to the 6th millennium BC, although archaeological studies in the area have not been as extensive as in other parts of the world. The country has otherwise had a very interesting and changeable past since recorded history began. Qatar has maintained its cultural and traditional values as an Arab and Islamic nation that considers the family to be the main pillar of society. The first major invasion of Qatar occurred in the year 1515 when the Portuguese navy took control of the peninsula. Portugal used Qatar for over a century as a trading port, bringing in products from Europe and exporting things like pearls, silks, seeds and spices from Arabia. After almost a century of occupation, the Portuguese were eventually driven out by the Imam of Muscat in 1652. In late 18’s, the peninsula again fell under the control of a foreign force when it became part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. At the outbreak of World War I, the Turks pulled out of Qatar and the British established a treaty with the new ruler, Sheikh Abdullah at-Thani, in 1916. The treaty offered protection from aggression for Qatar in return for supervision by the British of the country’s external affairs. This treaty held until 1934 when a new one was signed to further cement and extend upon the first. In 1960 Sheikh Abdullah at-Thani abdicated power of Qatar to his son, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Thani. It was eight years later that the British announced that they intended to remove their presence from Qatar by 1971. Al-Thani was quick to forge new bonds with Bahrain and Trucial Oman. This unity which would become known as the UAE, or United Arab Emirates.

CURRENT POSITION
Qatar is currently experiencing great expansion in its economic activities. Qatar has prospered in the last several years with continued high real GDP growth. Throughout the financial crisis Qatari authorities sought to protect the local banking sector with direct investments into domestic banks. GDP had rebounded in 2010 largely due to the increase in oil prices, and 2011′s growth was supported by Qatar’s investment in expanding its gas sector. GDP slowed to 6.3% in 2012 as Qatar’s gas sector expansion moved toward completion. Economic policy is focused on developing Qatar’s non-associated natural gas reserves and increasing private and foreign investment in non-energy sectors, but oil and gas still account for more than 50% of GDP, roughly 85% of export earnings, and 70% of government revenues. Oil and gas have made Qatar the world’s highest per-capita income country and the country with the lowest unemployment. Proved oil reserves in excess of 25 billion barrels should enable continued output at current levels for 57 years. Qatar’s proved reserves of natural gas exceed 25 trillion cubic meters, more than 13% of the world total and third largest in the world. Qatar’s successful 2022 world cup bid will likely accelerate large-scale infrastructure projects such as Qatar’s metro system etc. Qatar is the largest exporter of natural gas in the world. Qatar is also playing a vital role among the different countries of world and holding summits to resolve their issues. Leadership of Qatar recognizes that education will increasingly be the key to business success. Already Qatar has set up local campuses in Doha in partnership with five American universities, including Cornell, Carnegie Mellon and Georgetown. Qatar Science & Technology Park provides facilities for companies such as EADS, Microsoft, Rolls Royce, Shell, and most recently GE.

FUTURE OUTLOOK
Under the wise leadership of the Emir of Qatar, the future of Qatar looks extremely positive. The development of its Oil and Gas fields, and the improvement of basic industries that use gas as raw material will drive this proud nation to fulfil its true potential to become a World class nation; synonymous with honor and renowned for respectability – a true Global state. The economy is rapidly expanding in practically every sector and industry. A combination of government investment and the participation of multi-national companies are creating a culture of opportunity. Qatar is making efforts to complete major infrastructure projects including bridges, tunnels, and intersections by 2017. This includes 400 bridges and tunnels, 240 intersections and 31 other projects. Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup is a major contributor to the country’s accelerated development and flourishing projects market. Some of the major projects are Doha Metro, Sharq Crossing, Twin Towers, Urjuan Project, Entertainment City, Education City and various stadiums to host 2022 FIFA World Cup. Reliance on crude oil exports in the past has been replaced by a two pronged approach to management of the Qatar economy. This focuses not only on developing the country’s huge natural gas reserves and its expansion of liquefied natural gas, petrochemicals and condensates production, but also on a program creating a more broadly based Qatar economy through economic liberalization and diversification. Qatar economy through investment in and expansion of its financial center to attract international financial services and associated companies into sectors such as transport and tourism, health and education. Qatar’s liquefied natural gas industry is expanding fast, while new oil capacity continues to come on stream, thus boosting export volumes. Output of associated condensates – light oil extracted during gas production – is growing and other gas-based industrial projects (e.g.: the Oryx Gas to Liquid facility) are reaching completion, further increasing Qatar’s capacity in the energy sector. Two gas super-trains are planned, each capable of producing 7.8m tons per year. They are expected to supply 15.6m tons per year to the US market. A similar amount is planned for the UK, and the world’s largest liquefied natural gas import facility is currently being built at Milford Haven, a project which will bring 16 million tons of gas annually from Qatar into the UK gas transmission network. On the manufacturing front, Qatar’s first helium plant came on stream in August 2005. Qatar Vinyl Company announced, also in August 2005, a plan to triple its ethylene dichloride production capacity. Qatar aims to be a major producer of condensate, naphtha and lube oil by the end of the decade. Meanwhile Qatar Steel Company has embarked on a program to increase its iron and molten steel capacity by a half while Qatar Petroleum is working on a joint venture with Norsk Hydro to set up an aluminum smelter plant. To keep pace with the rapid industrialization program, Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation plans to double the country’s electricity and water distribution capacity within four years. A master plan is in design to expand Ras Laffan Port’s capacity to handle 3,000 LNG ships and other carriers each year. On healthcare, Qatar has set aside $8 billion for research – the largest cash endowment of its kind anywhere in the world. It is also creating a $900 million completely digital hospital in Doha with Cornell. All this development is overseen by Qatar National Vision 2030, a bold initiative designed to make Qatar an advanced society capable of sustaining its development and providing a high standard of living for its entire people. Qatar National Vision 2030 has four pillars: Human development, Social development, Economic development and Environmental development. All four pillars are equally important for Qatar future development and Vision 2030.

PERSONAL DETAILS:
Rizwan Asghar
Global Partner status (Associate – Executive – Senior): Senior
Country of registration: United Arab Emirates
City of registration: Dubai

SERVICE SKILLS:
Financial Planning
Financial Analysis
ERP Implementations
Organization Development
Financial Modeling
Cost Benefit Analysis
Variances Analysis
Pricing Strategy
Business Modeling
Revenue Cycle

INDUSTRY SECTOR EXPERIENCE:
Healthcare
Manufacturing
Consumer Goods
Agriculture
Financial Services
Electrical Electronics Manufacturing
Energy Sector
Telecom Sector
Textile Sector

QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENT:
Doctor of Business Administration – European University
MBA – Institut Prima Bestari
MCom – Preston University
BCom – Bahuddin Zakariya University

CLIENTS OR EMPLOYERS:
Sidra Medical & Research Center
New Mowasat Co
Super Asia MDS (Pvt) Ltd
Agrarian Seed
ABB Energy
Ericsson Telecom
Shah Jewana Textile

LANGUAGES
English
Urdu

PERSONAL PROFILE:
I have Doctor of Business Administration from European University, Switzerland. Prior to joining the doctorate program with European University I have completed Master of Business Administration majoring in finance from Institut Prima Bestari, Malaysia, Master of Commerce from Preston University and Bachelors of Commerce from Bahuddin Zakariya University, Pakistan. I am also a certified public accountant and certified management accountant. After completing my undergraduate program in Commerce I have decided to go for Chartered Accountancy professional program. I joined a reputable Chartered Accountancy firm as a trainee. In my first two years of training I gained a handful experience in external / internal audit, business planning, feasibility analysis, setting up accounting systems, setting up companies, taxation matters. In result of my rapid professional progress, timely completion of tasks, commitment and a good repute among clients, I was assigned a senior role in firm and start overseeing and managing different professional assignment for various clients. My clients are comprising of financial institutions, textile sector, educational institutions, healthcare providers, FMCG sector, hospitality, non-profit organization, multi-national consortiums, private and public limited companies. During my last year of training various clients contacted me to join their organization from multinational consortiums, public and private limited companies, I decided to take a changeling role with Agaraian Seeds a very new establishment. I was responsible for their day to day operations, managing corporate, financial & taxation affairs. After serving with them for few years I accepted a role with Super Asia MDS (PVT) Ltd, a large group of electrical and electronics manufacturing. I was responsible to overseeing their management reporting and taxation affairs. Boards of Directors also assigned me to establish a new manufacturing unit for motor bikes. During my service I was consistently providing consultancy to my clients for their financial, system setup, company setup and taxation matters. In 2004 I decided to relocate to Middle East to gain international experience. I joined New Mowasat Company, engaged in healthcare services. I worked with them for few years and worked across different fields of finance from payroll management, financial management, system implementation to revenue cycle. Currently I am working with Sidra Medical and Research Center, a state of the art, totally digital hospital in Qatar and most advance hospital in Middle East. Hospital is currently in stage of construction and soon will start seeing patients. During my stay with them I have established a finance department from scratch. I developed policies and procedures for finance department for hospital operations. Established financial reporting, management reporting structure and budgeting and planning module. I implemented Oracle Financials during project phase. Currently I am responsible for implementing financial systems (Lawson), revenue cycle system (Cerner), development of management and financial reporting, procedures and policies, process improvement for a totally paper less and digital hospital. . My professional background is unique. Collectively, I have over 20 years professional experience in the government, private, and entrepreneur sectors. I have considerable experience in financial analytics. I feel my unique practitioner experience combined with the philosophical rigors of Doctoral-level work provided an excellent platform for my consulting career. At the heart of good business is a solid foundation rooted in a firm’s mission, vision, and values. On the personal level this translates to character. I am a strategic thinker, always considering the relationship between decisions and organizational goals. I always speak my mind, supporting my feelings with evidence. I am fair-minded, yet am also able to recognize the unique circumstances behind situations and act accordingly. I believe that once people have committed to doing something they should be held accountable for their follow through and hold myself to the same standard. I am a designer of organizational improvement who can create buy-in with a diverse set of stakeholders. I am a selfless advocate who is dedicated to client objectives, having an immediate positive affect while coaching on how a sustainable culture is a good index for benchmarking long-term success. I am a true believer of personal ownership and accountability and will share my experiences and knowledge with the leaders I consult. I believe respect is earned through hard work and dedication to deliverables, not titles. I will go above and beyond the minimum expectations of my role to ensure your company’s mission and vision is integral to organizational success. In short I can stage myself as a proactive and dynamic client focused finance professional with a highly successful background in establishing and managing accounting functions in the public and private sectors. Skilled in all aspects of budgeting, forecasting and financial analysis, ERP implementations, capital investments. Attentive to detail with a logical and analytical approach to solving complex errors and discrepancies. My key skill areas are Financial Analysis, Financial Modeling, Management Reporting, Cost Benefit Analysis, Financial Planning, ERP Implementations, Benchmarking, Balance Scorecard, Business Modeling, Variances Analysis, Pricing Strategy, Revenue Cycle, Patient Billing.

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
Doha – Qatar
Dubai – UAE
Abu Dhabi – UAE
Muscat – Oman
Lahore – Pakistan

Global Partner preferred location
City: Dubai
Country: United Arab Emirates

CONTACT
To contact Rizwan Asghar (SGP), please forward an email to the Academy of Business Strategy.

RELATED LINKS
Rizwan Asghar – Certified Business Specialist (CBS) Professional Articles

Manuel Del Rio Diaz (EGP) – Monterrey (Mexico)   Leave a comment

Manuel Del Rio Diaz (EGP)THE ACADEMY OF BUSINESS STRATEGY - MEXICO

MANUEL DEL RIO DIAZ (EGP) MSc BS
EXECUTIVE GLOBAL PARTNER (EGP)

RELATED LINKS
Manuel Del Rio Diaz – Certified Business Specialist (CBS) Professional Articles

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION: Monterrey (Mexico)
HISTORY
Monterrey was founded by the Spanish colonizer Diego de Montemayor at 1596, the city of Monterrey is 540 meters above sea level and located in the north eastern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon and 200 kilometers away from the USA border. Monterrey lies north of the foothills of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range. The Santa Catarina River, dry most of the year on the surface but with flowing underground water, bisects Monterrey from East to West, thus separating the city into north and south halves.

During the years of Spanish rule, Monterrey remained a small city, and its population varied from a few hundred to only dozens. The city was a place that facilitated trade between San Antonio (now USA), Port of Tampico and Saltillo to the centre of the country. Tampico’s port brought many products from Europe, while Saltillo concentrated the Northern Territories’ trade with the capital, Mexico City, San Antonio was the key trade point with the northern foreign colonies (British and French).

After the independence war of Mexico in 1810, Monterrey rose as a key economic centre for the newly formed nation, especially due to its balanced ties between Europe, the United States, and the capital of Mexico. In 1824, the “New Kingdom of León” became the State of Nuevo León, and Monterrey was selected as its capital.

Monterrey is adjoined to Apodaca, Ciudad Benito Juarez, Villa de Garcia, General Escobedo, Guadalupe, Santa Catarina, San Nicolas de los Garza, Cadereyta y San Pedro Garza Garcia. The Metropolitan area has a population of 4,089,962 people at 2010 census.

CURRENT POSITION
Monterrey and Metropolitan area is amongst Mexico’s wealthiest cities and is included in the 100 world´s wealthiest, Monterrey is one of Mexico’s and Latin America´s most developed cities, with the highest income per capita in the nation, and is regarded as a highly developed city. Rich in history and culture, Monterrey is often regarded as the most “Americanized” city in the entire country.
Monterrey has very important Industrial and financial groups at Mexico including, national as FEMSA, CEMEX, AXTEL, Ternium, Vitro, Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc-Moctezuma, Maseca, Protexa, Gamesa etc. all of them with international business activities. International companies as British American Tobacco, Siemens, LG Electronics, GE Money, Whirlpool and Sony are some of the organizations with operations and industrial plants in Monterrey. Nearly 10 thousand industries operate in Monterrey, producing food products, beer, tobacco, glass, cement, metal plates, steel, chemical products, and machinery, among others.
International Consulting firms are Boston Consulting Group, Bain, KPMG, McKinsey, London Consulting Group and Harbor Intelligence.
The State of Nuevo Leon has 17 private and public higher education institutions, some with international recognition. Monterrey is the headquarters of the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, also called Tec de Monterrey or ITESM.
The city has hosted international events such as the 2002 United Nations Conference on Financing for Development with the participation of more than 50 heads of state and government, as well as senior delegates from over 150 countries. In 2004, the Special Summit of the Americas was attended by almost all presidents of the Americas. In 2007, Monterrey held the Universal Forum of Cultures with four million visitors.

FUTURE OUTLOOK
For the last 8 years Mexico has been dealing with corruption and safety problems, this was, among others, one of the reasons that some investments get away and look for more secure places to establish. Now government and political parties are getting into an agreement to deal with these matters in a “best to the country” way, and not only as “best for my party”.

Twenty years ago, most Mexican companies were not global; they focused on the domestic market and cheap labour for the U.S. Today, we understand that we have to compete globally and that means becoming efficient not only by having more Universities, but by having much better practices in our Organizations and Industries.
Monterrey ranked among the top five “Latin American City of the Future” according to the fDI Benchmark, this is focused on information and expert opinions to rank cities that have the best prospects for inward investment, economic development and business expansion.
According to The Financial Times Mexico has signed 44 free trade agreements, which is more than twice as many as China and four times more than Brazil. Monterrey has been the centre of technical education increasing the number of engineers and skilled labourers. It is taking manufacturing market share back from Asia and attracting more global investment than ever in autos, aerospace and household goods. Not only manufacturing is now back in the future, information technology is live and running.

Monterrey has created, in coordination with Universities, the Industrial and Innovation Centre, there are a number of tech start-ups that are emerging from Mexico’s young population, thanks to cheap, open source innovation tools and cloud computing. Monterrey has now the infrastructure to support new and big investments not only in manufacture but technology wise too, if you add the geographical situation of Monterrey as a provider and as a way of entrance to the most wealthy economy in the world this is a win-win deal.

Monterrey is now a business and economic source of opportunities, creating jobs, offering an infrastructure for living and new investments, along with education. Monterrey is exporting well educated human resources to US and other cities in the world. Local Consulting firms are now offering their services to USA and Latin America, That is a clear evidence of the new Mexico, not as other countries think about. We are now competitive and active on international markets, future will be great, and present is now running in that direction.

Monterrey is a very important part of the transformation of Mexico, there are approximately 10,000 small and medium business offering services and products to big Organizations, there is not only the outside trans-national business investments, local entrepreneur is a strong arm in our city.

The future outlook in my opinion couldn’t be better for Consulting organizations that will provide analysis and best practices to Organizations and Industries. We understand that these practices have to be tailored to our context and culture and that is why experience of working in this country becomes essential.

Today companies have to be successful, profitable and a source of income to workers. A successful organization must generate a wealthy economy and Monterrey is a clear sample of that.

PERSONAL DETAILS:
Manuel Del Rio Diaz
Global Partner status (Associate – Executive – Senior): Executive
Country of registration: Mexico
City of registration: Monterrey

SERVICE SKILLS:
Project Management
Project Management Processes
Project Management Office
PMO Implementation
IT service processes
Business Processes
Instructor PMP Certification
IT Delivery processes
Agil Project Management
Project rescue and negotiation

INDUSTRY SECTOR EXPERIENCE:
Telecommunications
Information Technology
Airlines
Tour Operator
Bank and Credit Institutions
Education
Digital Marketing
Manufacture

QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENT:
MSC – North Dakota State University
Industrial Engineer – Tecnologico de la Laguna
Diploma Tecommunicatios – ITESM
Diploma Business Administration – ITESM

CLIENTS OR EMPLOYERS:
Lala
ITESM
Axtel
Affiliated Computer Services Inc
Sytecso
Ladrillera Santa Clara
Sip Soluciones
Itera
Global Knowledge
Naranya

LANGUAGES
Spanish
English

PERSONAL PROFILE:
I was born in a medium size city at the north of Mexico; economy was based on agriculture and starting to create an industrial infrastructure to allow international investors take a look over and eventually become part of the local economy. There were not many options to study and less money to do it, but I had the opportunity to get into the University and get my Industrial Engineer degree in 1976. As an Industrial Engineer I worked for Dairy Industry, I started learning about the real world and about people. I met workers with needs, families, hopes and wishes. I thought that being an Industrial Engineer was all about manufacturing, processes, design, creativity, and so on; that was not at all true, it is about learning, communicating and interacting with people. After a year I got a promotion in which I got my first own team to work with and to lead; this team was a group of drivers and mechanics, some of them with much more years of experience than me. Then I had to learn how to communicate with them and understand their point of view. I learned to listen and built a team that wanted to work with me to reach the goals and objectives of my department.

Two years after I decided to look for something else in someplace else, I migrated to the capital, Mexico City. I worked for a factory having a group of production workers that produced a line of tools with special and specific machinery, giving me light to see and learn more about production lines and its processes, and how important was designing, implementing and auditing a process. We increased our production in a 20% the first year and created a new product.

At the end of 1979, I got an offer to be part of “Tecnologico de Monterrey” a very well recognized Institution of Education, for me this was the opportunity for being part of a new roll and get into the information technology industry, then again I learned about programming computer languages as Cobol, Basic and Pascal and Data Bases. I was in charge of operations of a small computer centre and software developer; at 1982 I got a scholarship to study in a USA University. From 1982 to 1984 I was doing my computer science master degree at the North Dakota State University, USA.

From 1984 to 1986 I was a Computer Science professor at “Tecnologico de Monterrey” and computer centre supervisor , then in 1986 I decided to go into the entrepreneur arena, offering computers, services and software solutions for several and different industries as Manufacture, Mining, Retail, Agriculture, Dairy and Small businesses. I learned to sell, be customer and business oriented. At the beginning it was a 2 people company which became 30 people and a new branch by 1990.

In 1994 Mexican economy dropped down and business started going bad, monetary devaluation, high interest rate, and no investments in technology. We were working to survive.

1997 was a great year, I became an IT Executive for Avantel or MCI Mexico, an International Telecommunication Company, there was a new opportunity to learn about IT Strategies and processes for big corporations. I had to manage the IT department (25 to 32 persons, plus Outsourcing teams) supporting the engineering and operations teams across the organization. Then I was Project Director of a US $7.5 million investment to do compliance with government regulations. It finished on time, under budget and with minimal disruption to call processing and billing. I proposed and managed a US $4.5 million company-wide project to implement a support system solution. I was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2001, this was a recognition given to only a few employees each year based on their contributions to the company and commitment to customer satisfaction, the same year I got a Telecommunications Diploma, established the Information Technology PMO and expanded it to encompass the areas of Operations and Engineering.

By the end of 2003 Avantel was preparing to be sold. In 2004 I got a new responsibility as Sr. Manager for Getronics Mexico, a consulting firm based at this time in Netherlands. I designed, established and developed the Project Management Office, achieving standardized PM practices across the organization, increasing customer satisfaction and lowering our delivery costs. I supported and developed the Pre-Sales processes to improve the Sales organization on strategy, and accuracy on Business Proposals. I managed the company’s software factory operations, leading a team of 100 persons. I turned around over budget, behind-schedule software development projects for customers as Banking and Insurance firms. In 2005 I got my Project Management Professional Certification from PMI.

From 2006 to 2008 Getronics assigned me to a very important Project, doing implementation of business and operational systems for a start up Airline and Tour operator, after 6 months I was hired by this company as business process & IT Director. I played a strategic role in the company by leading the implementation of critical systems such as sales, reservations, passenger check-in, enterprise resource planning, back office and aircraft maintenance. I Strengthened company operations by designing and implementing key technology and business processes.

By the end of 2008 the Airline and Tour operator closed business. In 2009 I was hired by ACS Inc. as Project Management Director with Project and Program Management responsibility, coordinator of PM team assigned to projects. I was responsible for Project Management of international projects.

In 2009 Sytecso, an IT consulting organization, hired me to be Director of Engineering & Operations responsible of P&L, a strategic role overseeing and managing Monterrey business unit. I managed the software factory, IT consulting, delivering services, HR, IT, Sales and Pre Sales. I led the commercial strategy, and defined the consulting organization.

In 2010 I decided to go to business on my own, I was asked to do consulting on Project management and I took the opportunity to be again in the freelance and entrepreneur arena. Director & Associate Consultant doing Project, Program and Portfolio Management and PM Training, IT Governance, IT processes and Business Process for Government, Education, Telecommunications, Airlines and Manufacture, Digital Marketing, and IT Organizations. I work to improve and optimize human and IT resources, looking for profits.

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
Monterrey – Mexico
New York – USA
Lima – Peru
Buenos Aires – Argentina
Bogota – Colombia

Global Partner preferred location
City: Monterrey
Country: Mexico

CONTACT
To contact Manuel Del Rio Diaz (EGP), please forward an email to the Academy of Business Strategy.

RELATED LINKS
Manuel Del Rio Diaz – Certified Business Specialist (CBS) Professional Articles

Colin Donahoe (EGP) – Los Angeles (United States of America)   Leave a comment

Colin Donahoe (EGP)THE ACADEMY OF BUSINESS STRATEGY - UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

COLIN DONAHOE (EGP) MBA BS
EXECUTIVE GLOBAL PARTNER (EGP)

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION: Los Angeles (United States of America)
HISTORY
The ‘Golden State’ of California has been a land of opportunity since the Spanish first constructed Missions in the area and began to farm and ranch the land. The Gold Rush of 1849 was responsible for creating the vibrant city of San Francisco out of the sleepy mission town of Yerba Buena. The Spanish (and later Mexican) Presidios of San Diego and Los Angeles grew up to become major metropolitan areas of their own. The Age of Gold spawned an entrepreneurial, risk taking culture of pioneers who came to get rich by digging wealth out of the ground, or by selling goods and services to those who came. Out of this era emerged firms with storied histories such as Levi Strauss & Co. and Wells Fargo Bank.

The Gold Rush was followed by an era of large-scale agricultural development that culminated in California becoming one of the nation’s largest producers of fruits, nuts, vegetables, and wine, which were transported via the newly completed Trans-Continental Railroad and shipping ports to locations around the Globe.

Southern California’s economic development really began to take off at the turn of the 20th century when it secured federal funds to develop a deep-water port in the San Pedro area. Trade dramatically increased after the Panama Canal was completed in 1914, culminating in what is now the World’s 8th busiest port (as measured by million TEUs) when the ports of Los Angeles and neighboring Long Beach are considered together (source: the World Shipping Council). About 90% of trade in the twin ports is with Southeast Asia. In addition to the nation’s busiest ports, the Los Angeles region also boasts the 5th busiest commercial airport in the world with LAX (source: Airports Council International). Over 11% of US national trade by value now passes through the Los Angeles region, and the Los Angeles customs district collects over 37% of the nation’s import duties (source: Federal Highway Administration). L.A.’s ports have made it a major freight hub for both railroads and trucking. It has also tied the Southern California region more to global economic cycles.

World War II was an inflection point for the California economy. Before the war, the state was mostly a resource-based economy driven by agriculture, oil, and mining. During the war, California became a center of science and technology due to investments by the Federal government, as well as pioneering research in California’s universities. During the decade of the 1940’s, industrial production in California increased by 50% and personal income rose by 240%. By the end of WWII, California emerged as the leading advanced technology economy in the nation.

In 2008, the worst global recession since the Great Depression hit Southern California particularly hard; especially in the Real Estate, Construction, Manufacturing, Professional Business Services, Finance, and Trade sectors (source: the UCLA Economic Forecast for CA). Some sectors, like Construction, have experienced permanent structural changes in employment. Since the economic recovery began in 2009, California’s economic growth has been dominated by high-technology and export-oriented industries located predominantly in major coastal metropolitan areas. However, by 2012, growth spread to other sectors and regions, thus improving economic conditions throughout the state.

CURRENT POSITION
California has attracted generations of Gold diggers, Farmers, Oil-men, Movie-makers, Airplane builders, Wine-makers, and High Tech entrepreneurs. If it were a country, its $2 Trillion economy would be the 5th largest in the world. It boasts over 10% of the Nation’s Research Universities, which supply it with a highly educated workforce. It also is home to 30 Fortune 500 Companies – Ten of these are in the Technology Industry. It’s economy is diverse: California is the also world’s fifth largest supplier of food and agricultural commodities.

About 17% of economic activity in California is related to Real Estate vs. 13% nationwide. The State is more dependent on Real Estate than other areas of the US, due primarily to five factors: (1) the region’s population density, (2) solid economic growth, (3) availability of human capital, (4) proximity to the ocean and (5) geographic constraints on the supply of property. (source: The UCLA Economic Forecast). As a result, the real estate cycle of boom and bust tends to be more exaggerated in California, as was evidenced in the recent 2008 recession.

About three quarters of the state’s population is located in Southern California and more than 60% of that is located in Los Angeles County. If Los Angeles County were a nation, it would be the 19th largest in the World. It is home to more than 244,000 businesses, many of them minority-owned. The Los Angeles area is the nation’s top international Trade and Manufacturing center. Manufacturing in the L.A. region is concentrated in: Apparel, Computer and Electronic Products, Transportation Products, Fabricated Metal Products, Food Products, and Furniture (source: CityData.com). Only Detroit produces more Automobiles than Los Angeles, a fitting statistic for the ‘car capital of the world.’ The “big three” U.S. auto manufacturers, along with Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo, have all located design centers in Los Angeles. With nine major Universities located in the L.A. region, it is a strong R&D hub for the electronics and biopharmaceutical industries.

The L.A. region’s economy is now a diverse blend of Agriculture, Oil, Aerospace, Entertainment (Film, Television, Music, Gaming, and Internet), Manufacturing, Software, Finance, R&D, and Logistics. Due to it’s status as a global city, the Los Angeles region boasts more than 400 subsidiaries of Global Multinational Enterprises, particularly from Japan, Korea, and China (source: Journal of International Business Studies, 2013).

FUTURE OUTLOOK
California has attracted its share of negative press over the years. The cost of living and of doing business is high. Taxes, property prices and government regulation are also higher than in other regions of the country. However, California is a big state with a diverse economy to match. It’s also wealthier on average than the rest of the nation because it has one of the most well educated and entrepreneurial labor pools.

California is an innovation leader; it captures a disproportionate share of U.S. patents (about 25%) as well as venture capital (about 48%). It is home to a large share of the nation’s leading colleges and universities (12 of the top 50). Three U.S. Dept. of Energy national laboratories are managed by the state’s University of California system. The state’s educational system attracts talented people from around the world, many of whom stay to work and start companies.

Economically, California is experiencing a solid demand-driven housing recovery, and it is expected to grow faster overall than the nation overall at around 3-4% GDP growth vs. about 2-2.5% nationally (source: the CA dept. of finance). Evidence of this emerged by April 2013, when California posted the 2nd highest total employment growth rate in the nation at 2.6%. Job gains in the California region were broad, but the largest were in the Leisure & Hospitality; Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services; and Construction industries. The three-year UCLA economic forecast for California indicates slightly more than 2% continued payroll employment growth, which is expected to reduce unemployment to 7.1% by 2015.

Commercially, California’s future looks promising due to several positive trends: First, technology continues to become a larger part of life – especially mobile devices and the migration of data to the Internet Cloud. Second, renewable energy (particularly Solar) and energy storage are expected to grow rapidly to diversify the Nation’s energy needs. California is home to a robust ecosystem of renewable energy firms such as Tesla, Sunpower, and First Solar. Third, genetic and human microbiome research in the region is yielding promising new avenues for disease management and control – with the intriguing possibilities for personalized medicine. This should benefit the strong Biotechnology hubs located in San Diego, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Forth, the shale oil revolution bodes well for California, which has the Monterey Shale formation, one of the largest shale oil deposits in the Nation. The state government can be expected to a reasonable job of balancing environmental concerns with economic interests, as several political reforms such as open primaries and citizen-led districting begin to have effect. Fifth, continued globalization can be expected to benefit the region’s transportation and trade sectors.

While California has attracted it’s share of negative press over the years, the state consistently demonstrates fundamental strength as a desirable place to work and live, with a vibrant, growing, and diversified economy to support businesses of all sizes. I personally look forward to what the future has in store for this region.

PERSONAL DETAILS:
Colin Donahoe
Global Partner status (Associate – Executive – Senior): Executive
Country of registration: United States of America
City of registration: Los Angeles

SERVICE SKILLS:
Product Management
Strategy
Product Marketing
E-Commerce
Product Development
Marketing Strategy
Online Advertising
Competitive Analysis
Multi-Channel Marketing
Business Planning

INDUSTRY SECTOR EXPERIENCE:
Consumer Electronics
Mobile Devices
Printing and Imaging
Retail
Distribution
Manufacturing
Technology
Media
Digital Marketing

QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENT:
MBA – UCLA
B.S. Engineering Science – UC San Diego

CLIENTS OR EMPLOYERS:
Epson
LEK Consulting
SAIC
The New York Times
Hydroxl Technologies
Metavana

LANGUAGES
English

PERSONAL PROFILE:
Colin has been working since the age of ten, when he was employed as a paperboy for the Saddleback Valley News in Mission Viejo, California. He learned the value of salesmanship and accounting when he had to collect the voluntary monthly subscription fee from 76 homes in the neighborhood. Over the course of six years with the paper, he received the Carrier of the Month award six times from a carrier team of over 120. At sixteen, Colin went on to become employed as a busboy, barback, and waiter in a local restaurant, where he learned the art of teamwork, service, and pay for performance (tips). He began to learn leadership skills as captain of his cross-country and track teams in High School.

Colin then moved to San Diego, California for his undergraduate engineering studies, where he worked in the back office of a locally owned retailer of fine dining and tableware in La Jolla. There, he learned inventory management, balance sheet accounting, as well as how to ship and receive one-of-a-kind fragile gifts from all corners of the earth. During his last two years of undergraduate studies at U.C. San Diego, he became a Resident Adviser in the Muir College Dormitories, where he managed a group of 74 students each year. He greatly increased his interpersonal and communications skills during this time, was elected by his peers to the Associated Student Body Senate, and received the John L. Stewart prize for outstanding service to the College upon graduation. He received his degree in Engineering Science (Cum Laude) in 1990.

A year prior to graduation, Colin joined Science Applications International (SAIC) in La Jolla, CA, where he served as a Staff Engineer performing classified systems analysis for commercial and production nuclear reactor sites in the U.S. He received and maintained a U.S. Department of Energy “Q” Level Clearance for five years. At SAIC, Colin learned to work with a cross-functional team of experts, interface with Government entities, and perform consulting engagements. In 1993, Colin took a leave of absence to travel extensively in Southeast Asia before attending UCLA for his M.B.A studies.

While at UCLA, Colin was elected to the position of Vice President, Marketing of the Entrepreneur Society, where he was responsible for marketing and external relations between the club and the Los Angeles business community. Colin also received a scholarship with the Management Development Program for Entrepreneurs in which he mentored an Entrepreneur through a marketing expansion of his engineering firm. Colin performed his Summer Internship and Field Study Program with 3Com Corporation of Santa Clara, CA, where he worked on a marketing program to launch 100baseT Ethernet technology in 1994.

Upon graduation in 1995, Colin took the summer to travel to Central America to study Mayan culture, then he joined L.E.K. Consulting as a Strategy Consultant. At LEK, Colin performed Business Valuations, Growth Strategy engagements, and Due Diligence work in the Energy, Technology, and Media/Entertainment Industries. Working at LEK was like doing post-graduate work in Strategy and Finance with highly talented and intellectual co-workers. Colin was poached away by a satisfied client to Epson America, Inc. after only one year at the firm.

Since 1996, Colin has worked at Epson America, Inc. He started in the Corporate Strategy Department, where he recruited and led a team of five professionals to conduct special projects and confidential analysis as assigned by Senior Management for the North and Latin American Regions. Colin learned how to navigate corporate politics and bring a diverse set of stakeholders on board in this key role.

In 1999, Colin was promoted to Director, Internet Marketing and E-Commerce during the dot com boom, where he oversaw all Digital Marketing and Web Operations activity in North America. He learned a lot about operations management in this role, overseeing a wholly owned subsidiary with it’s own telesales marketing team, warehouse logistics team, credit/finance team, and marketing team. In all, 72 people reported to him in this position and he recruited another 16 during a difficult period of talent warfare when people were leaving in droves to go to Internet startups. In this role, Colin went through a major ERP implementation in which the Subsidiary’s back end systems were ported over to the global ERP system. This involved a massive effort to document all processes and re-create them in the new system. The project was successfully concluded after 18 months. In this role, Colin also ran the Direct Response marketing teams, Tradeshows & Events, and Vertical Marketing functions of the company, together with a budget of over $10MM. His legacy was to create an Enterprise level CRM system that stored over 15MM marketing profiles for the company from sources such as Call Center contacts, Web Accounts, Product Registration, and Extended Warranty purchases. Colin was recognized with several awards during this period, including the Global Epson President’s Award for Sales and Marketing and the BizRate.com customer service award in 2002, The American Graphic Design Award and Epson America Kaizen Award in 2003.

Colin was then re-assigned in 2004 to head up the Strategy and New Business Development functions, where he was the top executive responsible for Corporate Development, Corporate Strategy, and Business Incubation activities in the Americas. He built a new business development process for the company and launched three new business lines that were spun out into existing product divisions. During this time, he was awarded Patent number U.S. 7290950 B2 for a Scrapbook Reproduction System. He was also invited to the Epson Global Leadership Seminar, where he interacted with senior executives responsible for a variety of functions from all over the globe. They awarded him the One Epson Award for the most outstanding contribution to the Seminar.

Since 2005, Colin has been assigned to GM roles as the Senior Director of Epson’s Consumer Imaging and later Business Imaging Products. In these roles, he was responsible for a P&L of over $600M, which includes Epson’s line of Color Printers and Scanners, as well as more than 500 SKUs of Inks and Media. He also architected Epson’s global cloud strategy for all of it’s printers and scanners, called Epson Connect. He is now responsible for crafting competitive strategy, guiding product development efforts, and overseeing a marketing and promotions budget of over $100M. In a B2C capacity, Colin has called on such major retail accounts as Staples, Amazon.com, Office Depot, Best Buy, Target, Wal Mart, Office Max, and Costco. In a B2B capacity, he has called on major Distributors such as Ingram and major Direct Mail/Retail accounts such as CDW, Insight, Dell, and Zones. He received several awards during this period, including the Global Epson President’s Award for Sales and Marketing in 2007 and 2008, as well as several product awards.

He presently serves on the advisory boards of two California-based start-ups: Metavana (an online sentiment search tool) and Hydroxl Tech (a novel foam cleaning process for industrial systems).

GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
Los Angeles – United States of America
San Francisco – United States of America
San Diego – United States of America
Tokyo – Japan
Sao Paulo – Brazil

Global Partner preferred location
City: Los Angeles
Country: United States of America

CONTACT
To contact Colin Donahoe (EGP), please forward an email to the Academy of Business Strategy.