BULGARIA INTERVIEWS

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SMALL COMPANY, BIG DREAMS

Bulgaria's potential in high technologies transcends the outsourcing software services it is popular for now. Rüger Consulting has been a successful example for exploring new fields. It is a regular feature in the top 3 list of the most prosperous IT consultancy companies by the Computer World Bulgaria weekly. It is small, but it's clients' portfolio includes major international names, like UniCredit Germany and the largest financial group in Northern Europe – Nordea. The company implemented and refined many terabyte scale enterprise data warehouses and big data applications.

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 15:15
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ÉRIC LEBÉDEL: FRANCE'S AMBASSADOR ON MAVRUD, BORDER AREAS AND DIFFICULT-TO-PRONOUNCE BULGARIAN PLACE NAMES

Éric Lebédel (b. 1957), France's ambassador to Bulgaria, is not a newcomer to either the former Soviet bloc nor the Balkans. He has worked in Moscow in the 1980s and in Istanbul in the 1990s. This is not his first visit to Bulgaria either. He had been to this country several times on various short missions before he took up his post as ambassador in October 2016. This is less than a year in total, in a country notorious for being at least challenging to understand by people not well versed in either the language or the culture.

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 12:28
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THE ART OF MAKING MONEY

With interests on deposits hitting an all-time low and no change in sight in the near future, trading is a way to make a good profit. The waters of international markets, however, can be rough for both beginners and advanced traders who suffer from more than the healthy amount of enthusiasm. To make the best of the markets, such enthusiasts need the help of Admiral Markets UK, a regulated FCA broker. The company offers a modern platform for trading CFDs on currencies, commodities, stocks and indices.

Tue, 05/02/2017 - 11:03
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BORDER: A JOURNEY TO THE EDGE OF EUROPE

Kapka Kassabova was born and raised in Bulgaria, spent her late teens and twenties in New Zealand and now lives in the Scottish Highlands. She started writing poetry as a schoolgirl, but turned to fiction and non-fiction many years ago – in English, her adopted language. Her narrative non-fiction books, including Street Without a Name and Twelve Minutes of Love, as well as novels such as Villa Pacifica have earned her an international reputation as being one of the freshest literary voices of her generation.

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 13:15
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EMMA HOPKINS

Emma Hopkins, OBE, has been HM ambassador to Bulgaria for two years, following a successful career in areas as varied as migration and asylum, human rights and preventing sexual violence in war zones. She has two small daughters who go to school outside of Sofia, but who have to breathe the Central Sofia air when they come home. Two years is probably not a very long time to make an in-depth assessment of any country, but Emma Hopkins has some very clear ideas of what's going on in ever-changing Bulgaria.

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 13:22
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THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THE FAST

Advertising is one of those businesses, which has changed so rapidly and dramatically in the past few years that if you have lived long enough to remember the olden days, you might think of the early 2000s as if they belonged to the pre-Diluvian age. Contemporary advertising is fast, digital, ever changing and constantly fine-tuning to reach its target groups more efficiently, helping old and young, big and small companies to prosper and succeed. Or to fail, if they underestimate how modern advertising works.

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 16:05
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MAXIM BEHAR

Maxim Behar is a globally recognised Public Relations and media expert, diplomat and entrepreneur. He is a founder, the CEO and the chairman of the board of M3 Communications Group Inc., the leading Bulgarian PR company and a part of the largest public communications corporation in the world, Hill+Knowlton Strategies. Maxim is also the president of the International Communications Consultancy Organisation.

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 12:25
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NANCY SCHILLER

Meeting at a children's museum is hardly the right place for a serious conversation about charity, development aid and politics. However, Muzeiko, this country's newest museum, which is also one of the very few purpose-built, is extraordinary museum. Inaugurated in 2015 and paid for in full by the Sofia-based America for Bulgaria Foundation, it is both an academy and a playground for kids who come here to look at spacecraft and weather stations, to explore wildlife and to take in and try to understand bits of the technology that makes our lives what they are today.

Fri, 09/02/2016 - 05:43
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XAVIER LAPEYRE DE CABANES

France's outgoing ambassador, Bulgarian-married Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes, has made a name for himself as being outspoken on any issue ranging from art to education, public relations and politics. By calling a spade a spade on key issues for Bulgaria as the rule of law and compliance with EU-related commitments, Lapeyre de Cabanes has gained the respect of many intellectuals and ordinary citizens who see Bulgaria firmly in both the EU and NATO. Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes arrived in Bulgaria in the autumn of 2013.

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 11:00
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FUTURE IS NOW

Driverless cars, quantum computers, the Internet of things: we are living in times when sci-fi ideas are becoming reality. Biotechnologies are one of the fields in human knowledge that have been experiencing a rapid development in the past few decades. Now is the time to reap the benefits in the form of a growing portfolio of biotechnology medicines for deadly and previously untreatable diseases, says Krassimira Chemishanska, MD, MBA, Country Director of the Bulgarian branch of Amgen.

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 10:36
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CRISIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger may sound like a cliché but Vassil Christov, CEO of Fibank, Bulgaria's largest locally owned commercial bank, has seen it in real life. In 2014, there was a run on the bank. After a nightmarish week, the institution managed to recover and now is restructured and healthier than ever. It has repaid the state liquidity support, has grown and invested in new technologies. Mr. Christov has been on the Managing Board of Fibank since 2010, and in 2012 was distinguished as Banker of the Year.

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 13:02
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ERIC RUBIN

With a significant career in the US State Department, spanning over 30 years and including posts in countries as varied as Honduras, Thailand, Ukraine and Russia, Eric Rubin, America's new ambassador to Bulgaria, is not a man who beats about the bush. Concise and to the point in the telltale American way, he is no newcomer to the former East bloc. In fact he remembers vividly his first visits to Bulgaria in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Tue, 06/28/2016 - 11:37
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KRZYSZTOF KRAJEWSKI

Like so many Poles, who used to make their holidays at the Bulgarian Black Sea coast in the 1970s and 1980s, this is not Krzysztof Krajewski's first visit to this country. The current Polish ambassador spent five years in Varna, between 1998 and 2003, acting as a consul. In addition to the title of Honorary Citizen of Varna and the ability to speak almost unaccented Bulgarian that sojourn brought to him a lasting sentiment for Bulgaria which, during our chat at the Polish Embassy in Sofia, he found hard to do away with.

Wed, 06/08/2016 - 14:27
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EMMA HOPKINS, OBE

We are situated at the back of the British Residence and Emma, who had a wide-ranging experience as a barrister and as a leading legal and policy expert on issues such as sexual violence in war, asylum, immigration and human rights, before she took up her post as ambassador in Bulgaria last year, already feels quite at home.

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 15:31
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CHRISTIAN KØNIGSFELDT

The Sofia neighbourhood of Boyana can hardly be compared to any other place in the world as it amalgamates, in a quirky way, the brutalism of the former Communist regime and the extravagance of Bulgaria's new rich, but as I drove up a dead-end road on a crisp early-spring morning I never imagined I would end up in a piece of... Denmark, of all places.

Fri, 04/08/2016 - 12:59
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THE POTENTIAL TO BE BETTER

Just like families, companies might look the same but each of them is different, with its own structure, leaders, individuals working in teams, goals and problems. Wilson Learning Worldwide, a global leader in human performance improvement, knows this well and invests significant efforts in the development of know-how for solutions in the fields of sales effectiveness, leadership effectiveness, and individual and team development.

Fri, 04/08/2016 - 12:55
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IRIT LILLIAN: ISRAEL'S AMBASSADOR ON HER FAVOURITE SPOTS IN BULGARIA

After spells as an increasingly senior diplomat in Singapore and France, and a variety of positions at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Irit Lillian came to Bulgaria last year to take up her first job as an ambassador. From the very beginning, it transpired that she would not be your "ordinary" ambassador who talks about "bilateral relations" and avoids any issue of controversy. Being educated in archaeology, classical studies and Egyptology, and having had a spell as a journalist, Irit Lillian has a much wider view on politics and life than the ordinary foreign office type would.

Mon, 03/07/2016 - 15:00
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TAKING THE SWEET PILL

Sitting in his panorama-view office at the foot of the Vitosha, Nikolay Hadjidontchev, general manager of Teva-Bulgaria, is both excited about the acquisition of Actavis, one of the country's leading pharmaceutical companies, and anxious about the merger's results. Nikolay Hadjidontchev has over 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry and on the consumer goods market. Before becoming the general manager of Teva-Bulgaria in 2011, he was the general manager of Alapis Bulgaria, Actavis Ltd, Roche Bulgaria and Unilever Bulgaria.

Mon, 03/07/2016 - 14:57
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STABILITY, TRANSPARENCY, EFFICIENCY

The summer of 2014 was a hard one for the Bulgarian banking system, as two local banks became the target of liquidity attacks. Fibank, one of the victims, received liquidity back-up with the approval of the European Commission, and began the implementation of a strict plan for restructuring. Since June 2015, the Finn Jyrki Koskelo, an independent member of Fibank's Supervisory Board, has been one of the forces behind the restructuring process. Several month later, he is happy to say that the bank has done better than the projections had showed.

Wed, 12/23/2015 - 11:30
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