Poland Today were recently proud organisers of ‘Poland Transformed’ conference, which took place on May 28, 2014, at the Endorfina Foksal palace in Warsaw. The conference focused on the role business has played in Poland’s transformation, and will bring together opinion formers, business leaders, as well as 50 journalists from around the world.
Featured speakers included: former Prime Minister Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, business leader Henryka Bochniarz, The Economist Senior Editor Edward Lucas, World Bank Country Manager for Poland and the Baltic Countries Xavier Devictor, as well as George Friedman, Founder and Chairman of global intelligence firm Stratfor.
International publications participating in the conference included:
The Economist (UK), Deutsche Welle, Suddeutsche Zeitung, ZDF TV (Germany), Le Monde (France), El Mundo, El Pais (Spain), New York Times (USA), Xinhua News Agency, Renmin Ribao (China), i24News (Israel), Nihon Keizai Shinbun, inc. - Nikkei News (Japan), La Repubblica, Il Sole 24 Ore (Italy), Nederlands Dagblad, De Telegraaf (The Netherlands), Wirtschaftsblatt (Austria), Expresso (Portugal), Kommersant, ITAR-TASS (Russia), Hospodářské Noviny (Czech Republic), Magyar Nemzet, Figyelo (Hungary), Adevarul, Foreign Policy Romania (Romania), Business Daily Finance (Slovenia), Suomen Kuvalehti (Finland), To Vima (Greece), Capital Weekly (Bulgaria), Eesti Päevaleht (Estonia), IQ Magazine (Lithuania), LETA (Latvia), Kjarninn (Iceland), Monitor (Albania), De Standaard (Belgium), Folha (Brazil), TV 1+1 (Ukraine), Mon L’Echo (Algeria), Polennu (Denmark), The Irish Times, RTÉ (Ireland), Argus Media (UK), SAKE 24 (South Africa), Sydsvenskan (Sweden), Dünya Gazetesi, Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), L’Expansion, Revista Proceso (Mexico), New Caucasus (Georgia)
Richard Stephens, Founder and Editor in Chief of Poland Today
An expert in energy, intelligence and cyber-security issues, he covered Central and Eastern Europe for more than 20 years, witnessing the final years of the last Cold War, the fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet empire, Boris Yeltsin’s downfall and Vladimir Putin’s rise to power.
From 1992 to 1994, he was managing editor of The Baltic Independent, a weekly newspaper published in Tallinn.
He holds a BSc from the London School of Economics, and studied Polish at the Jagiellonian University, Cracow.
He is married to Cristina Odone with three children.
“The New Cold War” (2008) was his first book. “Deception”, about east-west espionage, was published in 2011. “The Snowden Operation” was published as an e-book in 2014.
Dr. George Friedman
George Friedman is the Chairman of Stratfor, a company he founded in 1996 that has become a leader in the field of global intelligence and geopolitical forecasting.
Dr. Friedman is the author of the best-selling books, “The Next Decade” and “The Next 100 Years,” with his prescient predictions of the decline of the European Union and the rising tension between Russia and the West and their struggle over Ukraine and borderland countries.
Dr. Friedman’s other books on warfare and intelligence include, “America’s Secret War,” “The Future of War” and “The Intelligence Edge.”
A very popular keynote speaker for his insights into the changing global scene, Dr. Friedman is in high demand at numerous conferences and industry-specific events in the United States.
He is also frequently invited to speak internationally in countries such as Poland, Azerbaijan, Germany, Romania, Turkey, Singapore, Mexico and Peru.
Dr. Friedman received his Bachelor’s degree from the City College of the City University of New York and holds a Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University.
Xavier Devictor is the World Bank Country Manager for Poland and the Baltic Countries, based in the World Bank’s office in Warsaw.
Devictor is responsible for the management of the Word Bank’s activities and program portfolio in Poland and the Baltic Countries, and for leading the World Bank’s dialogue with the Government of Poland on a broad range of policy issues and the World Bank’s engagement in Poland.
Devictor, a French national, joined the World Bank in 1996 and since then has held various positions mainly in Europe and Central Asia (ECA) and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), including head of the Kosovo Country Office and working in the Office of the Vice President for the Africa Region.
His last assignment before moving to Poland was Country Program Coordinator for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti, based in Washington, D.C. Prior to this Mr. Devictor worked in the private sector in Central Europe.
He holds a Master’s degree in Management and Economics from “Ecole Polytechnique” and a Master’s degree in Management and Engineering from “Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees”.
Jan Krzysztof Bielecki
Jan Krzysztof Bielecki is a graduate of the University of Gdańsk. During the years 1973-1981, he also worked at the university, where he lectured on economics.
He was one of the participants of the historic protests at the Gdańsk Shipyard in 1980 and was later removed from his university position for his active cooperation with the NSZZ Solidarność trade union in 1981.
From 1985 to 1990, Bielecki was the director of a new cooperative, Doradca (Eng. “Consultant”), founded by himself and other members of Solidarność, where he continued to assist the trade union in its role as the political opposition.
In 1990, President Lech Wałęsa appointed Jan Krzysztof Bielecki as Prime Minister- where he served from January to December 1991.
In the years 1992-1993, Jan Krzysztof Bielecki was, among other things, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Congress, a member of the Sejm Foreign Affairs Committee, a Polish delegate to the European Parliament, and the Minister for European Integration during the administration of Hanna Suchocka.
From December 1993 to September 2003, Bielecki was Poland’s representative on the Board of Directors at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London.
From October 2003 to January 2010, Bielecki was the CEO of Pekao bank.
In November 2009, he became the Director of the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) and in March 2010, Prime Minister Donald Tusk appointed Bielecki as the President of the Economic Council.
In 2010, President Bronisław Komorowski awarded Jan Krzysztof Bielecki with the Order of the White Eagle- Poland’s highest national distinction.
Adam Maciejewski has extensive expertise in management and capital markets, strengthened through a programme of domestic and international training as well as practice.
He is a graduate of the Warsaw School of Economics, postgraduate tax studies at the Warsaw School of Economics, and an MBA course at the University of Finance and Management.
He has also completed the International Institute for Securities Markets Development organised by the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, DC. He has been authorised to represent the State Treasury on Supervisory Boards.
Since 1994, he has worked for the Warsaw Stock Exchange, among others as Director of the Trading Department and Director of the Trading and Market Development Department.
Since 28 June 2006, he has been a Member of the Management Board responsible among others for organisation of trading, trading systems, technologies, the derivatives market as well as information products.
He supervises the project aiming to make the WSE’s new trading system available to Exchange Members, as well as other business and technology projects which are key to the safety of trading and the development of exchange services. He has been the main negotiator of the strategic agreements with NYSE Euronext.
For many years, he has specialised in corporate supervision and performed functions on Supervisory Boards. Currently, he is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Polish Power Exchange, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of BondSpot and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the WSE Commodities.
Starting September 17th 2013 he is a member of Board of Directors in Aquis Exchange Limited.
He previously sat among others on the Supervisory Boards of the National Depository for Securities (2006-2011), WSEInfoEngine (2007- January 2013) and MTS CeTO (2000-2006).
On 20 November 2013 appointed to the Board of the Federation of European Securities Exchanges (FESE).
He has chaired the Advisory Group to the National Depository for Securities and the Examination Panel for securities brokers and dealers.
He is Chairman of the Program Council of the Academy of Capital Market Leaders at Lesław A. Paga Foundation and a member of Advisory Council to Management Faculty at University of Gdańsk. For 2012-2016 he is a member of Warsaw University of Technology Convention.
He is the author of many publications on practical aspects of the capital markets.
Jacek Socha joined PwC in December 2005. Since joining the firm he has advised a number of large Polish state-owned enterprises as well as foreign companies.
In the years 2004 – 2005 he was the Minister of State Treasury in the government of Prime Minister Marek Belka. As the Minister of the State Treasury, he successfully completed a number of privatization transactions on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, including the biggest IPO in Poland – PKO BP.
From 1991 to 2004 he worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission of Poland (and from 1994 to 2004 he was the Chairman of the Commission).
During these years he participated in the creation of the modern capital market in Poland, and in the admission processes of a large number of companies currently listed on the WSE
He is an Honorary Member of the Warsaw Stock Exchange, the Chamber of Brokerage Houses and the Association of Securities Brokers and Investment Advisors.
He was the Deputy Chairman of the Emerging Market Committee of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and Chairman of the European Regional Committee of IOSCO.
Jacek Socha is a member of the Corporate Governance Committee. He is a co-writer of the first rules approved by the Warsaw Stock Exchange in 2002 and also a member of the Information Governance Board and Referee of the Arbitration Court by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority.
He is the Vice-President of the Polish Confederation of Private Employers and also Vice-President of the Polish Golf Union.
Mr. Socha is the author of numerous books: “Market – Exchange – Investments”, “Understanding Stock Exchange”, “Securities market in Poland”. He is also the author of a number of articles and publications on these subjects.
Born in 1954 in Paczków, he is married with two daughters. His favourite pastimes are playing golf, tennis and bridge.
Henryka Bochniarz holds a PhD in Economics and is a Member of the Council of Presidents of BUSINESS EUROPE, the largest and most prominent confederation of employers in the EU.
She has been the President of Boeing Central and Eastern Europe since 2006 and a Member of the European Commission Enterprise and Industry Advisory Group, created by the Commissioner Antonio Tajani.
In 2011 she joined the pan-European think-tank European Council on Foreign Relations.
She is also Chairwoman of the Polish-Japanese Economic Committee and formerly held the position of Minister of Industry and Trade in 1991 as well as being a candidate for the office of the President of Poland in 2005.
Since 2002, she has served as Deputy Chair of the Polish Tripartite Commission for Social and Economic Affairs and has played an active role in dialogue between the government, employers’ and trade unions’ organizations.
She is originator of the European Forum for New Ideas, international congress of business communities, economists and experts from the world of culture and politics devoted to seek meaningful solutions to the most fundamental problems facing Europe.
Ms. Bochniarz is one of the most important voices in the European dialogue on diversity.
She co-founded the Congress of Women, which has become an important social movement and initiated parity legislation in Poland.
Awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (2004), prestigious Kisiel Prize (1998) for independent thinking and entrepreneurship and Andrzej Bączkowski Award (2003) for extraordinary contribution to development of social dialogue in Poland and activities beyond political differences.
Decorated with the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun, Golden and Silver Star.
In 2012, she was placed on the list of the 50 Most Influential Poles by “Wprost” magazine.
She was born in Świebodzin 1947.
Professor Witold M.Orlowski
Professor of economics, working mainly on the economics of transition and the European integration of Central and East European countries.
Founder of NOBE (Independent Centre for Economic Studies), one of Poland’s leading economic think-tanks, and the Dean of the Business School of the Warsaw University of Technology.
Professor Orlowski is chief economic advisor to PwC in Poland; member of the Economic Council of the Prime Minister; deputy chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Museum in Warsaw; and a Special Advisor to the European Commission.
He is also a former economic advisor to the president Aleksander Kwaśniewski.
He spent 1993-1997 at the World Bank and from 2001 until 2005 acted as chief economic advisor to the president.
In the past he was also an advisor to the Chief Negotiator of the EU membership of Poland, a member of the Macroeconomic Council of the Minister of Finance, a consultant to many international and national bodies and organizations.
He is a popular economic commentator and columnist of major Polish newspapers and the author of eight books and 150 scientific publications.
Professor Orlowski studied at the University of Łódz and the Harvard University.
Katarzyna Zawodna has been working for the company since 2006, first in the marketing and leasing department where she was responsible for promoting Skanska’s developments.
Thereafter, she went on to sell completed projects such as the Marynarska Point office park in Warsaw’s Mokotów district.
In 2010 Zawodna became a member of the Management Board.
For the following two years she held the role of Green Business Manager, introducing sustainability standards to the Polish real estate market.
In 2011 she became Regional Director of Region North in Skanska Property Poland, responsible for strategy, project implementation and investment transactions in Northern Poland.
In March 2014 she became President of the company, which currently employs more than 70 people.
Zawodna graduated from the Warsaw School of Economics. She also holds the title of LEED Accredited Professional.
Mr Marek Podstawa has an extensive track record of leading international teams and large expertise in management, economics and technology.
From 1991 to 1992 he worked as an engineer at Central Plants of Metallurgy Automation. His career in the fuel sector began in 1993 at DuPont Conoco Poland, where he successively held the posts of Regional Representative and then (1995-96) Regional Director.
At Conoco, he was soon promoted to become Director for Wholesale Programs (2006) and Director for Strategic Planning at the company’s head office in Houston, Texas (2007-2008).
In January 2009, he returned to Poland to become Executive Director for Retail Sales at PKN ORLEN S.A. He was also Chairman of the Supervisory Board of ORLEN Deutschland GmbH (2009-2011) and a member of the Management Board of Benzina, s.r.o. (2009-2010).
On March 14th, 2012 he was appointed to the position of Member of PKN ORLEN Management Board in charge of Sales and on March 6th 2014 Supervisory Board of PKN ORLEN has reappointed him to this position again.
Currently, he serves as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of ORLEN Deutschland GmbH. He is also Chairman of the Supervisory Board of ORLEN Paliwa and ORLEN Petrotank.
A member of AGH University of Science and Technology Convent, Cracow, he graduated from AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow (1989) and completed MBA studies at the University of Minnesota/Warsaw School of Economics (2000).
Rossen Hadjiev joined Integer Group in October 2013 and became a member of its management board in December 2013. His responsibilities include financial and strategic initiatives, as well as the international expansion of the automated parcel machine business.
Previously he was a Managing Director at PineBridge Investments (Central Europe).
He played a key role in structuring, negotiating, and monitoring several investments in CEE, including those of EasyPack, Work Service, Czerwona Torebka, JetFinance, Orange Romania and Orange Slovensko.
Hadjiev holds a B.A. in business administration from the American University in Bulgaria.
He holds an MBA from IESE Business School in Spain and was an exchange MBA student at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.
Fluent in English, Polish, and Bulgarian, he also has a good command of Spanish and Russian.
Beata Stelmach joined the General Electric group in November 2013, becoming CEO and Director General of GE Poland and the Baltics.
She has been associated with capital markets since 1991.
During 1991-1999 she worked in the Polish Securities and Exchange Commission.
She was President and CEO of the Warsaw Board of Trade from 2000-2001, and was a Board Member of Prokom Software between 2001 and 2005.
She served on the management boards and supervisory boards of several firms, including Intrum Justitia TFI, MCI Management, MCI Capital TFI, Bioton and Travelplanet.pl.
In 2006 she was appointed President of the Polish Association of Listed Companies.
From 2011 to 2013 she was Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
She graduated from the Warsaw School of Economics with an Master’s degree in Finance and Statistics.
She holds MBAs from the University of Calgary and INSEAD.
Over the past decade Lukasz was the CEO and shareholder of the Onet Group (Poland's largest horizontal Portal), which owns and operates a portfolio of leading web properties including no 1 dating site Sympatia.pl, leader in
online Yellow pages Zumi.pl and Onet VOD. Onet was acquired by Ringier Axel Springer in 2012 for EUR 300mn.
Right now Lukasz builds companies and makes investments - mainly in the mobile space - through Dirlango, a newly created management/investment company. Current portfolio includes Justtag - an innovative mobile and
social wifi platform for loyalty & m-commerce; iTaxi.pl - Poland's leading taxi ordering App; and Virgin Mobile - a new MVNO on the Polish market.
Lukasz actively shapes the landscape of Poland's online sector. He recently joined the Board of Wirtualna Polska Group, which has a monthly reach of 17.4 mill unique users or 80% of the Polish Internet population.
He likes challenges in business as well as privately through a range of sports from skiing, tennis, running, golf and sailing.
Adam Purwin has worked with PKP Group as a manager for privatization and corporate governance since May 2012.
Previously, Adam worked in the banking sector for more than 10 years, including among others, BRE Bank, Bank Pekao, PKO and BP.
His main duties included corporate finance, mergers, acquisitions and valuations of companies.
In February 2013, Adam was appointed to the Board of PKP CARGO, where he assumed the position of Board Member, CFO. From mid November 2013 to early February 2014 he acted as interim CEO and in February of this year the Supervisory Board elected him to remain in this position.
Julian Kozankiewicz is an entrepreneur and currently chief operating officer of the COMP Centre for Innovation, an entity within the COMP group responsible for strategic initiatives and business development.
In 2004 he co-founded Mediacap and served as its CEO until 2010. Since then, he has focused on the technology sector.
He is involved in a variety of social and cultural projects including The Kings Foundation (www.thekingsfoundation.org), TEDxWarsaw (www.tedxwarsaw.com) and Mediatory(www.mediatory.pl).
Fabio Pommella, President of the Management Board at Indesit Company Poland and furthermore Industrial Director at their Łódz Site, which includes four plants producing cookers, refrigerators, hoods and plastic components.
Employed with Indesit since 2001, he has gained vast experience in Poland where he has been working and living for almost a decade.
Among his previous roles he acted as Cooking Plant Director, Cooling Plant Director and Director.
Fabio is a graduate of the Universita degli Studi di Napoli "Federico II" in Italy.
Mirella Panek-Owsiańska is the President and Director General of the Responsible Business Forum.
She is responsible for relationships with key stakeholders in Poland as well as cooperation with CSR Europe, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the Global Reporting Initiative and UNDP.
The author of several articles and press comments, she is also a jury member of many sustainability contests and an academic teacher of CSR-related programs.
She is an expert in the CSR Commitee under Prime Minister, the Polish Committee of ISO 26000 and the CSR promotion team under the Ministry of Economy.
Panek-Owsiańska holds an MA in political science.
She has several years of experience in politics as Advisor to the Minister of Justice, party strategist and trainer.
She is also a PR specialist, a former press officer and the spokesperson of Amnesty International.
She is engaged in many NGO projects related to gender, leadership and democracy.
Panek-Owsiańska is also an alumna of the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program, Lech Walesa Fellowship and other courses and programs in the US.
Richard Stephens is Founder and Editor in Chief of Poland Today.
Originally from England, Richard has been in publishing, journalism and event organizing in Poland for over 10 years, mainly in the real estate sector.
He was previously editor of Eurobuild magazine, where he also created the Eurobuild Awards, and has led around a dozen tours of international journalists to Poland and Central & Eastern Europe, most recently for PL.2012, the organizer of UEFA EURO 2012.
He has a degree in Theology and Religious Studies from Bristol University.
Andrew is an American journalist who has been living in Poland since 2001.
Though he tends focus was on business and economics, since 2004 he has also covered major political, and social events throughout that time as well.
He served as Editor-in-Chief of Warsaw Business Journal from 2007-2013 and has reported for numerous global media, including the Financial Times.
He has also reported on Poland’s political and economic ties with other countries, notably from France, Georgia and the United Arab Emirates.
Lech Kaczanowski is Poland Today’s Business Editor and editor of the weekly Business Review+ digital newspaper.
From 2002 to 2013 he covered business and economic news from Poland for Sweden’s Bonnier Group and other Nordic media.
A former Open Society Institute Fellow at Duke University in North Carolina, Lech has degrees in economics, sociology and journalism.