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October 2, 2019


8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m
AmCham Business Breakfast
Family Business, Investments & Trust: Eternal Love or Just a Fling?


Zdravko Počivalšek,

Minister of Economic Development and Technology of the Republic of Slovenia ...

Zdravko Počivalšek holds a bachelor’s degree in agronomic engineering. For the past 15 years he has headed the Terme Olimia spa resort in Podčetrtek. He was a Slovenian Chamber of Commerce prize winner in 2004 and Manager of the Year 2010.

Born on 25 November 1957, Zdravko Počivalšek acquired his first management experience in 1985 and 1986 as a member of the business group responsible for resolving operational issues at the Šmarje pri Jelšah Agricultural Combine. He was director of Šmarje pri Jelšah Agricultural Cooperative until 1994, when he became managing director of the Mlekarna Celeia dairy company. In 1999 he became manager of the Atomske Toplice spa resort, which he helped to transform into the Terme Olimia brand. He was employed there as director until taking up the post of minister. On 4 December 2014 the Slovenian National Assembly appointed him Minister of Economic Development and Technology in Dr. Cerar’s government.

In 2005 Mr Počivalšek received an award from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for his exceptional achievements in business and enterprise in 2004, and was named Manager of the Year in 2010 for his outstanding and lasting achievements in business.

On 13 September 2018 he was again appointed Minister of Economic Development and Technology in the 13th Slovenian Government, headed by Marjan Šarec.


Arielle Malard de Rothschild,

Managing Director & Vice-Chairman for Central and Eastern Europe, Rothschild & Co ...

Arielle de Rothschild joined Rothschild in Paris in 1998 where she founded the Emerging Markets Department. Before this, she spent 10 years at Lazard Frères & Cie, as part of the Sovereign Advisory Group. Based in Paris, Arielle de Rothschild is a Managing Director since 2006 and joined the Supervisory Board of Rothschild & Co, in 2014.

Arielle de Rothschild advises governments and large corporates from CEE and CIS as foreign corporates and PEH interested in investing in the region. She is Vice Chairman for Central & Eastern Europe and CIS since 2010.

Arielle de Rothschild is one of the founding members of Financi’Elles, the leading federation of networks promoting gender diversity in the financial sector and committed to helping improve and streamline women’s access to the top level of organisations in the finance sector. She is also Chair of CARE International, a leading NGO which works around the globe to defeat poverty and empowers women and girls in the center.

Arielle de Rothschild holds a Ph.D. in Economic Sciences from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris and a Master in Econometrics from the University Paris 2- Assas. She is the author of a book “Cofinancing World Bank-commercial banks”, PUF 1986 and co-author of a choral book with Institut Montaigne and Financi’Elles” Analysis and remedies to increase trust between stakeholders in the corporate world”, Eyrolles 2013


Chris Weiler,

President and Chief Executive Officer, Weiler Corporation ...

Chris Weiler is President and Chief Executive Officer of Weiler Corporation. Chris is the fourth CEO in the company’s history and represents the third generation of the Weiler family to lead the company. Chris became Weiler’s CEO in March 2009.

Chris started with Weiler in 1998 and has held positions of increasing responsibility in the areas of sales and marketing. Weiler Corporation is a market leader in the manufacture of industrial brushes and coated abrasive flap discs. The company has been named one of the top 100 places to work in Pennsylvania and has won numerous awards including being a two-time winner of the Industrial Supply Association’s American Eagle Award for industry excellence.

Prior to joining Weiler, Chris worked as a product manager for Constellation Brands the largest international producer and marketer of beverage alcohol brands. Chris worked in the wine division where he was the brand manager for the dessert wine portfolio.

Chris is a member of the Young Presidents Organization, the Treasurer on the board of trustees for Moravian Academy, a pre-K –12 college preparatory school located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and an active leader in the Boy Scouts of America, currently serving as Cubmaster in Pack 1742 in Bethlehem.

Chris has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Skidmore College and an MBA from the University of Rochester. Chris lives in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania with his wife Jennifer of 18 years and three children Max, Annie & George.


Gregor Pilgram,

Chief Financial Officer, Austria, CEE & Russia Region, Generali CEE Holding B.V. ...

Gregor Pilgram has been based in Prague since July 2013, and is responsible for Consolidation, Controlling, Actuarial Services, Bancassurance and Reinsurance.

He supervises the financial performance and strategic development of Austria, ten CEE countries and Russia out of the Generali CEE Holding based in Prague. Before taking this position, Gregor was for five years CEO of Generali Slovenia and also the President of the Supervisory Board of Generali Croatia. Gregor Pilgram started his career as an expert in the Controlling Department of Generali’s Slovenian subsidiary in 1999. In the years that followed, he worked as Head of Internal Audit and CFO. He became CEO of the company in 2008. He was appointed Chief Financial Officer and became a member of the Executive Committee of Generali CEE Holding as of July 2013.

During his work in Slovenia Gregor Pilgram was a member of numerous associations including the Executive Board of the Slovene Managers Association. He was awarded a “Young Managers of the Year 2010” award by Slovene Managers’ Association for shaping the Slovene insurance market and bringing Generali in Slovenia to become one of the market leaders.

Recently Gregor become President of the Supervisory Board of Adriatic Slovenica insurance company. Gregor Pilgram graduated from Vienna Economic University in Business Administration in 2001.


Miha Žerko
President of the Management Board, SRC




  10:30 a.m. – 12:15
Inside the Investor’s Mind

Opening Remarks:

dr. Andrej Bertoncelj,

Minister of Finance of the Republic of Slovenia ...

He was a full professor at the University of Primorska Faculty of Management until May 2018. He was a member of the board of Slovenski državni holding d.d. (SDH) responsible for governance and restructuring, and for the financial management of SDH. He is a financial expert with international experience. He has 25 years of experience in the business sector, mainly in financial management, including 18 years in managerial positions. He worked in New York for several years, where he served as president of Lek USA, Inc. Other positions have included that of assistant finance director at Lek d.d. and divisional director and corporate governance adviser to the board at Kemofarmacija d.d., while he also has considerable experience in the fields of corporate governance and business and financial restructuring in the international environment.

He is the author or co-author of 10 books and more than 40 scholarly articles in international journals.


Gregory Ingram,

Member of Supervisory Board, KGAL ...

Mr. Ingram, a French and US national, holds different board and director positions, notably with the following organizations: KGAL GmbH & Co. KG (a leading German Real Asset Manager), Thunderbolt Partners SA (Luxembourg-based private equity house), Trigal ddo (Slovenian-based investment and advisory company) and Prantl AG (Munich-based small luxury house) to name a few.

Mr. Ingram was instrumental in establishing and developing both La Jonciere Real Estate Partners SA (a Luxembourg private equity real estate company) and Thunderbolt Partners SA (also a Luxembourg-based private equity and advisory company). Over the last 25 years, Mr. Ingram oversaw and transacted in excess of EUR 2 billion in real estate, non-performing loan and operating company investments.

Mr. Ingram is fluent in French, English and Spanish.


Rob Irving,

Partner, Dentons ...

Rob Irving is an experienced M&A and private equity partner and co-chair of the Firm’s global Private Equity group. He has worked on landmark transactions throughout Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and South-Eastern Europe (SEE) as well as Turkey since 1991.


Michał Kędzia,

Partner, Enterprise Investors ...

Michał Kędzia concentrates on the FMCG, financial services and healthcare sectors. His most important projects to date include Dino, Intersport ISI, PAN-PEK and Studenac. Prior to joining EI, Michał worked in the mergers and acquisitions team at Ernst & Young (today EY) in Warsaw.


Andrea Moneta,

Senior Advisor Italy and Operating Partner PE FS Apollo ...

Mr. Andrea Moneta is Senior Advisor Italy and Operating Partner PE FS for Apollo since 2015. In these capacities, he promotes and coordinates Apollo’s businesses in the Italian market, and serves on the Boards of the PE portfolios companies Amissima (chair) and Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor.

Before joining Apollo Mr. Moneta worked, inter alia, as CEO EMEA for Aviva, CEO CEE for UniCredit, Group CFO for the same institution, and Head of Strategic Planning for the European Central Bank.

Mr. Moneta has held executive and non-executive board positions in more than 35 listed and non-listed companies across several Western European countries, CEE, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the Middle East.

He holds honours degrees in Politics and Economics and in Business Administration and is qualified as “Dottore Commercialista”.


Ajda Cuderman,

Director, SPIRIT Slovenia ...

Ajda Cuderman started her business career in 2001 in an ICT company in the field of electronic document management. She continued her work as a sales management consultant in an international consulting firm specializing in sales process management. In 2015 she joined Petrol Group where she has been working as a business development manager for energy solutions in Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia. Since 2010, Petrol's Energy solutions have been the leading regional provider of energy and environmental solutions in the field of energy, water supply systems, efficient lighting and energy management of buildings.

From March 2016 to June 2017, she has been the CEO of Eltec Petrol d.o.o. in Belgrade, today Petrol d.o.o. Serbia, where her special concern was dedicated to the implementation of pilot projects for the renovation of public lighting and energy restoration of public buildings in public-private partnership, with emphasis that such investments combine the best interests of both the public and the private investor.

At the beginning of 2019 She excepted a new professional challenge and was appointed CEO of the public agency SPIRT Slovenia. Her vision of SPIRIT is that it develops into an effective public agency ensuring sustainable growth and development of the Slovenian economy by supporting entrepreneurship, internationalization, technological development, foreign direct investment and the promotion of the Slovenian economy.


Matej Pirc,

Chief Executive Officer, Bank Asset Management Company (BAMC) ...

Matej Pirc assumed the position of chief executive officer of the Bank Asset Management Company (BAMC) on 29 April 2019. Prior to this he served as acting CEO for three months and for a year and a half as financial director of BAMC. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics, and has 15 years of management experience in both private and state-owned commercial enterprises. He developed in-depth knowledge of corporate governance, finances, accounting, controlling, risk management, and other support functions. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Economics in Ljubljana. For several years he worked in management positions at the Mercator Group, both in the parent company and in subsidiaries abroad. He was a member of the board of the indemnity corporation Slovenska odškodninska družba d.d. and later of state asset corporation Slovenski državni holding d.d. In April 2014 he became chairman of the board of Slovenski državni holding d.d., with responsibilities including the management of capital and other investments, the restructuring of companies, and finance. Prior to his employment at BAMC, he was one of the directors at the international consulting company A.T. Kearney d.o.o., in charge of corporate governance projects, infrastructure projects and projects linked to mergers and acquisitions.


Matjaž Ulčar,

Managing Partner, Law firm Ulčar & partners Ltd. ...

Matjaž Ulčar is managing partner of Ulčar & partnerji, experienced in corporate and commercial law and recognized as one of the leading experts in M&A transactions on the Slovenian market. He has been involved, in various roles, in several high profile privatization and M&A transactions in Slovenia, as well as in broader region.




  12:45 – 2:30 p.m.
Investors' Lunch with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia

Marjan Šarec,

Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia ...

Marjan Šarec holds a bachelor's degree in acting. After graduating from woodworking high school in 1996, he enrolled at the Academy of Theater, Radio, Film and Television in Ljubljana, where he studied stage acting and the art of speech. He graduated in 2001 under the supervision of professors Jožica Avbelj and Boris Cavazza.

In 2010 he was elected mayor of the Municipality of Kamnik and subsequently re-elected for a second term. He first came to the attention of the general public on the national political stage in the presidential election of fall 2017. In the second round of the election, in which his opponent was current Slovenian President Borut Pahor, he received 46.91% of the vote. This result showed that many voters identified with his positions, his commitment, and his desire for change. "Politics has to become more 'practical' and politicians should be there for people, not the other way round" was one of his most frequently repeated messages.

In private life he is a quiet person who loves his homeland. He devotes most of his spare time to his family and enjoys spending time in nature, gardening, and maintaining his local surroundings.

Vintage cars are his passion and he loves to read, particularly books on history. He also enjoys watching documentary films.





October 3, 2019


  9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Why are Multinational Companies Local Companies?

Slovenian managers abroad:

Anton Petrič,

Vice President Enterprise Infrastructure, Deutsche Telekom ...

Anton Petric is a Vice President at Deutsche Telekom Europe responsible for ICT infrastructure business in B2B segment (from June 1st). Anton works closely with our NatCos to achieve growth in the B2B area of enterprise infrastructure services in key accounts and large accounts segments.

Anton has more than 20 years of experience in the field of telecommunications and ICT. Anton joins DT from Cisco, where he held several managerial positions and acquired a wealth of experience in the ICT infrastructure business over a period of 11 years. In the past two years, Anton was leading Cisco cloud operations in 29 countries – a time during which he extended the company’s cloud capabilities with over 70 new cloud partners and generated the biggest growth and total revenue for Cisco in the EMEAR region. From 2012 to 2015, he was responsible for regional business development in 12 countries of southeast Europe. Before this, he served as General Manager for Cisco in Slovenia for six years, where he contributed to positioning the company as a strategic partner for all top service providers in the country.


Biljana Weber,

Senior Director Enterprise Sales Western Europe, Dynamics 365, Microsoft ...

Biljana Weber is a seasoned executive in IT industry, with more than 20 years of experience at IBM and Microsoft Corporation. She is a transformational leader with passion for people and technology.

In her current role as Senior Director Business applications, she leads Microsoft ERP and CRM business across 12 countries in Western Europe, leading the organization across all countries to deliver extraordinary strategic impact of Cloud/Mobile First Strategy. She is trusted advisor to customer’s technology and business leaders, having a strong and active external network and being a spokesperson. She created and executed accelerated growth strategy for business applications in Western Europe, resulting in triple digit growth, significantly outgrowing competition and gaining market share.

Within Microsoft, she is focusing on nurturing growth mind-set culture, motivate, activate and spur team members to give their best and achieve outstanding results, deepen organization capabilities by developing industry, solution and technical skills, hiring and developing diverse talent, significantly grow cloud service business, and establish disciplined execution of competitive capabilities across the area.

Biljana Weber joined IBM in 1992 and during her eighteen years in the company, held numerous regional leadership for Central Eastern Europe Middle East and Africa region (CEMA): PC division Director, Partner organization executive, Marketing director, General Manager for Slovenia&Adriatics region, Director of Strategy, Public Sector director for CEE. She received numerous awards for her work, among others 13 times top achievement award, Special Order of Merit reward for CEE and EMEA Leadership Award.

She joined Microsoft in January 2011 as general manager for Slovenia. Under her leadership, Slovenia became company’s best performing subsidiary among small developed countries. She received Chairman’s award in 2012. Following these achievements, Biljana assumed the role of General Manager of Microsoft Czech Republic in 2013, and then Microsoft Czech Republic and Slovakia. Under her leadership, Czech Republic and Slovakia subsidiary significantly grew their overall business and cloud business in particular, overachieving company’s expectations each and every year. Microsoft became #1 employer of choice in these 2 countries for 3 years in a row and attracted many top local and international talents. Since early 2018, Biljana is leading Microsoft Business Application business for Western Europe, and has received an award as best performing region in Microsoft for fiscal year 2018.

Over the past two decades, she has received numerous public awards as recognition of her industry and social contributions including the " Arthemida” – Award of Slovenian Management Association for Special Achievements in Management, as well as was ranked among Top 25 Women of Czech business 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Biljana Weber is advisory board member of Webster University in Vienna, member of World President Organisation (WPO), was member of the AmCham boards in Slovenia, Czech Republic and Slovakia, member of the board of Manager association of Slovenia, member of the board of Young Executive Society (YES). She supports diversity initiatives in several capacities at Microsoft, participating in SheXO initiative with Deloitte, Women on the Board initiative as well as mentoring number of female talents inside and outside of Microsoft. She also supports several charities and socially responsible initiatives, is member of Lions Club.


Foreign managers with ties to Slovenia:

Panagiotis Alekos,

Managing Director of Bayer Slovenia and Country Division Head of Bayer Pharmaceuticals Cluster Hungary & Alpe Adria ...

Managing Director of Bayer Slovenia and Country Division Head of Bayer Pharmaceuticals Cluster Hungary & Alpe Adria

Panagiotis Alekos is the Managing Director of Bayer Slovenia and at the same time in charge of the Pharmaceuticals Division of Bayer for nine countries including Balkans and Hungary. In the past he had leadership positions in Czech Republic and Slovakia, Romania and Greece with more than 20 years management experience.

He holds a master’s degree from the Cranfield School of Management. He has also studied Food Science and Technology in Greece as well as General Management at the University of Cambridge.

He is a firm believer in the power of a positive environment and is involved in Executive Coaching and innovative approaches in operational excellence.


John Denhof,

, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), President of the Management Board, NKBM ...

John Denhof has been the President of the Nova KBM Management Board since early 2017. Currently he is leading implementation of the 5 pillar strategy to transform NKBM into Slovenia's best bank, focusing on client excellence, growth and profitability, strong risk and compliance, operational efficiency, talent and culture.

With the recently announced acquisition of Abanka Slovenia, Nova KBM is well positioned to become the best bank in Slovenia by 2020.

Mr. Denhof is an experienced senior executive, having held various leadership positions at Citibank in emerging and developed markets including Singapore, UK, Germany, USA, Turkey, Czech Republic and Spain. His area of expertise is Retail Banking for both mass and affluent segments.

During his 28 years in the financial services industry, Mr. Denhof planned and implemented the repositioning and turn-around of several banks for sustainable growth and profitability, developed distribution channels, improved digital servicing capabilities and enhanced the value proposition for clients launching numerous business innovations. Prior to Citi, he was a business consultant.

John Denhof has an MBA from The American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) and BS in politics from Michigan State.


Thierry Villard,

Senior Program Director Aligned Distribution Consumer Europe, Goodyear ...

Mr. Thierry Villard holds a position of Senior Program Director Aligned Distribution Europe at Goodyear Dunlop Tires since 2018. Prior to this, he was holding several positions at Goodyear Dunlop Tires, including Sales and Marketing Director for the Europe, Africa and Middle East region (2007-2010), Managing Director and President of the Board of Goodyear Dunlop Sava Tires based in Ljubljana (2010-2013), and as Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand based in Melbourne (2013-2018.

Thierry Villard acquired these positions after earning valuable managing experience from various enterprises operating in industries ranging from food, services, technology and manufacture. He occupied various positions within the Danone Group, Eastman Kodak Company and Photo-Me International PLC. He graduated of E.D.H.E.C (Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales du Nord) in 1984, speaks fluent English, knows notions of German, and is native to French.

His non-professional hobbies are music, motorcycling, skiing and mountain biking.




  11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Smart Ecosystem, Smart Money, Smart Marketing

Julien Coustaury,

Managing Partner, Fil Rouge Capital ...

Julien has over 20 years of experience in manufacturing and services, much of it at CEO level. He has worked in more than 80 countries across five continents and participated in over $1.7bn of purchase, sale and financing transactions. He is no stranger to starting things: in his early career he travelled the world building mobile phone networks literally from the ground up. As his career progressed, he ended up building whole mobile phone companies from scratch.

In recent years he shed the corporate world to allow his entrepreneurial spirit to flourish. As part of the founding team of Double Recall, Julien attended YCombinator S11 class. He then became an active founder of ABC Accelerator in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and of ABC First Growth, the VC arm of ABC. He became a serial investor in early stage businesses and with his partner invested in more than 40 early stage ventures, and he still serves on the boards of a number of them.

It was Julien’s inspiration that led to the formation, and naming, of Fil Rouge Capital in 2016, and he has been instrumental in its rise to prominence in the SEE region as a favoured investor. He holds a master’s Degree in Telecom engineering, he is an avid skier and wakeboarder, cultivates olives for oil, and has an extensive cellar full of Bordeaux wine which he generously shares.


Jure Mikuž,

Managing Partner, South Central Ventures ...

Jure Mikuž is a VC fund manager with broad experience in deal structuring, business modelling and helping startups to grow their businesses.

Jure founded the first Slovenian VC Fund, raising funds from established Slovenian companies and public sources. Jure serves as a board member in multiple portfolio companies including Celtra, Marg, and Degordian. He actively promotes entrepreneurship and regularly holds lectures on finance and fundraising procedures for the start-up. Jure holds a M.Sc. in Management from the University of Ljubljana.

Jure is also the co-founder and managing partner at South Central Ventures. With offices in Belgrade, Zagreb and Skopje, South Central Ventures (SCV), through Enterprise Innovation Fund (ENIF), is focused on tech companies in the Balkans. The € 40 million fund is dedicated primarily to early stage and growth investments.


Tom Snyder,

Executive Director, RIoT, North Carolina ...

Tom is Executive Director of RIoT, supporting Internet of Things and disruptive technology industry growth. By day he runs RIoT Labs at HQ Raleigh. In his spare time, Tom co-instructs Product Innovation Lab, a Forbes award winning multi-disciplinary course in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at NC State.

Prior to joining RIoT, Tom held an executive leadership role at the ASSIST Center, a National Science Foundation sponsored effort to create wearable electronics for healthcare monitoring. Previously, he spent two decades in product development and technology incubation in NC.

He’s passionate about creating and fostering collaborations across disciplines, markets and cultures. He enjoys the outdoors, woodworking, boardgames, big crowds, craft beer and ideas that are just crazy enough to work.


Peter Merc,
Digital Lawyer and Fintech Advisor in Fintech Factory, Lemur Legal, Blocksquare, Smart SporTech


Uroš Okoren,
Director at Sportelement d.o.o.




  2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Hit it Big on the Big Market

Steven K. Lanier,

President, American World Services ...

For over 20 years, Steve Lanier has been actively helping European SMEs to develop the United States as an export market. Since the establishment of American World Services in 1993 he has worked with hundreds of companies and organizations developing their marketing activities in the United States. He brings years of expertise in developing customized strategies for each of AWS' clients, and he frequently presents at workshops and conferences using various case studies to demonstrate how to develop effective marketing strategies for the US market. Mr. Lanier has a master's degree in International Affairs (international trade and development) from American University in Washington, DC, and a bachelor's degree in Communication from Bethel University in Minnesota.


Steve Staresinic,

CGMA, independent expert in the field of taxation, accounting, and HR ...

Steve Staresinic has been an independent Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Global Management Accountant in his own practice since 2003, enabling several mid-sized North American and European companies to establish their business activities and permanent establishments in Germany and elsewhere in the EU and to comply with European and American accounting, taxation, human resources and other regulatory reporting requirements effectively and efficiently. He also serves European companies in establishing their operations in North America. His practice includes US regulatory audits and international tax planning and compliance work. He has served as an instructor of international accountancy and taxation at the University of Applied Science in Calw, Germany and in Fulda, Germany and has guest lectured at the Catholic University College of Ghana, Africa.

During his many years as Audit and Consulting Manager with Price Waterhouse and PricewaterhouseCoopers in Stuttgart, New York and Frankfurt, he audited and advised German universal banks and investment companies in their initial application of IAS/IFRS, US GAAP and SEC Reporting requirements. He later served as a manager in the corporate accounting department at the Dresdner Bank in Frankfurt, where he was responsible for policy formation and implementation of IAS/IFRS and US GAAP. Subsequently he was the project manager responsible for the US GAAP implementation at one of Europe’s leading retail companies. Steve is also a lead consultant for Virtagon International GmbH on projects to implement Economic Value Added (EVA) at leading German companies.

Steve Staresinic is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Public Company Accounting Controlling Oversight Board (PCAOB), the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs, the Executive Council of the German CPA Society (GCPAS), Board Member of the International German-Chinese Belt & Road Alliance (IDCA), Board Member of the Treasurer of the American German Business Club, Stuttgart Chapter and a founding member of Rotary Club Chapter Stuttgart-International.

Steve graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in Accountancy and Philosophy. He served as an officer in the XVIII Airborne Corps and the XII Corps in the US Army during the “Cold War”. All four of his grandparents were from Slovenia.