On January 13th, 2022, the Board approved the New Leadership of the AmCham Bulgaria Committees. Executing the plan for the Committees upgrade, restructuring and improvement which was approved during the Strategic Board Meeting in September 2021, and conducting a nomination and selection process in December, the Board completes this important task for the development of the chamber.
The approved chairs and co-chairs are as follows:
- Energy and Mineral Resources will be co-chaired by Krassimir Nenov, Executive Director, ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3 and Prof. Iliya Garkov, Vice President, Dundee Precious Metals and CEO, Dundee Precious Metals Bulgaria.
- Healthcare will be co-chaired by Ruslana Toncheva, Johnson & Johnson Bulgaria and Luka Chichov, General Manager for Bulgaria and Hungary, IQVIA.
- Human Capital and Education will be chaired by Zlatina Kushkieva Managing Partner, HR Consulting Partners..
- Research, Innovation and Start-up will be chaired by George Alexandrov, Managing Director Audience Platform
- Digital will be co-chaired George Ganev, General Manager IBM Bulgaria,and Plamen Zhechev, CISCO Systems.
- Tax and Finance will be chaired by Milen Raykov, EY Bulgaria
- Rule of Law and Legislative Reform will be chaired by Omourtag Petkov, Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov, & Velichkov
The Board wishes best of luck to the newly elected or reconfirmed leadership of the committees.
The new procedure presents an improved way for nomination, engagement, and appointment of the committee leadership. The process aims to improve further the coordination, interoperability, and transparency of the work of the committees and their communication with members and the Board, as well as to help them set clear objectives and plans that are in line with the AmCham’s mission and priorities.
The process requires that each member company can nominate only one person for a single committee. The candidates should possess knowledge and expertise, to present some tangible motivation and priorities, as well as to be fully dedicated to the work of AmCham. To stimulate motivation, each elected chair/co-chair should sign the Committee Chair Engagement Agreement – a newly introduced document that encompasses the scope of work and engagement of the Committee Chairs in their role within AmCham.
The procedure limits one mandate of committee chair to two years. A Chair/Co-Chair can be re-elected without limitation. Also, they can hold this position only for one committee at AmCham.
The committees are open to representatives of all members, and they represent the industries and the horizontal functions that drive companies ahead (such as Human Capital, Finance and Tax, Education, etc.).
Energy and Mineral Resources
Energy and Mineral Resources will be co-chaired by Krassimir Nenov and Iliya Garkov.
Krassimir Nenov has been the Executive Director of ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3 since March 2017. He has gained his C-level experience in multinational companies, such as Enel, Enel Russia, ContourGlobal, and possesses versatile energy experience across the industry. Mr. Nenov holds an MBA degree from Cornell University, USA, MBA from The Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium, and BA in Economics from The University of Arkansas, USA.
Dr. Eng. Iliya Garkov is Vice President of Dundee Precious Metals Inc. and he is the Managing Director for Bulgaria overseeing DMP Chelopech EAD and DPM Krumovgrad EAD. Mr. Garkov has over 30 years of local and international mining experience in Bulgaria, Australia, and Armenia. He has Mining Engineering Master’s Degree and has a Ph.D. from the Mining and Geology University in Sofia. Mr. Garkov has a series of trainings, courses that build-up his continuous learning curve. In 2016 he graduated the London Business School Senior Executive Program.
Dr. Garkov teaches students at the Mining and Geology University, as well as he is a guest lecturer at the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. He has co-authored 5 professional textbooks as well as acted as editor of BSc and MA thesis of 7 students and 5 scientific research papers.
In 2021 Mr. Garkov was awarded the Mister Economy award for his dedicated work in modernizing the mining industry.
The mission of the Energy and Mineral Resources Committee is to exert a positive impact on the Bulgarian energy system and to further demonstrate the importance of the mineral resources. It will work to develop their potential both locally and Europe wide by promoting the dialogue and cooperation between the government and the business. Its goal is to improve the energy regulatory environment and to create more sustainable investment climate in the country.
In particular, in the mining sector, the committee will work more closely with experts to allow legislative incentives that would relieve the business from lengthy permitting regimes and create an optimized administrative environment for business is also among the top priorities.
- To identify and tackle sector specific key issues;
- To help the advancement of the reform and improvement of the energy legislation;
- To create channels for direct dialogue with decision makers to voice industry concerns and to share energy innovative ideas;
- To secure regular updates on developments in the committee to the membership;
- Collaboration with AmCham Leadirship, and other committees on common themes (ex. Rule of Law and Legislative Reform, Healthcare, Human Capital and Education, Digital, Research, Innovation and Start-ups, etc. Committees);
- Best practice sharing in the full spectrum of the energy sector;
- To be active participant in the national and potentially international discussions on the The European Green Deal and ESG reporting;
- To broaden the interdisciplinary networking with various stakeholders.
The Healthcare Committee will be co-chaired by Ruslana Toncheva and Luka Chichov.
Ruslana Toncheva has 20-years professional experience in General Management, Marketing and Commercial operations across EEMEA markets in leading multinational companies. Today Ms. Toncheva is Customer Engagement Lead Mid-Sized Markets EMEA, Janssen, Johnson & Johnson and AmCham Board Member since May 2021. She is also adjunct instructor in Marketing & Business Communications at the American University in Bulgaria since January 2018. She has an MBA from The Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, and a Master of Science of Economics from The University of National and World Economy, Sofia. Ms. Toncheva has passed series of specializations in organizational transformation and development, marketing strategies, change management, etc.
Luka Chichov is the General Manager at IQVIA Bulgaria since September 2019 and supervises sales & sales excellence, strategic and operational marketing, MCM and digital engagement, interaction with payers and policy makers, innovation initiatives and design thinking, etc. Mr. Chichov has a master’s degree in Business Administration and Management from ESADE Business School, Barcelona, Spain, and a bachelor’s degree in International Economics and Management from Bocconi University, Milan, Italy
- Efficiency in Hospital Care
- Implementation of Digital Health
- Investment in Prevention and Screening
- Collaboration with other committees (Digital Economy)
- Position AmCham Healthcare Priorities in front of the Bulgarian authorities and stakeholders and partners.
- Re-open discussion for launch of Expert Advisory Board to MoH
Human Capital and Education
Human Capital and Education will be chaired by Zlatina Kushkieva.
Zlatina Kushkieva has 22 years of experience, having held Human Resources management, Management consulting and Sales roles in CEE. Since 2019 a Managing Partner at HR Consulting Partners and a Founder of U Matter Corporate Wellness. She has previously worked as a human capital advisory consultant for Deloitte, Lee Hecht Harrison; and as a regional and local HR manager for P&G, MSD (Merck & Co.), Avon Cosmetics. Ms. Kushkieva is a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. She is a certified Senior Professional in HR by the HR Certification Institute at the USA, and a Green belt in Lean Six Sigma.
- To engage with members to create expert opinions for legislative changes (Government-planned and also AmCham-driven);
- Increase the cooperation within the AmChams in Europe towards implementing solutions that worked in other countries.
- Develop and extend recommendations to the Government on changes in the labor-related legislation to support the digital transformation
- Sharing of best practices in HR Management between members, and with the Start-up & Innovation Ecosystem
- Explore opportunities for engaging remote workers (located remotely)
- Increase the value-add to members through reduction of the gap between education and business for HR.
Research, Innovation and Start-up committee
Research, Innovation and Start-up will be chaired by George Alexandrov.
George Alexandrov has 20 years of experience in the ICT sector. He worked at Orbitel, IBM Bulgaria, and Oracle, where he held the position of Country Managing Director for 6 years. Currently he is a Managing Director at Audience Platform, a fast-growing, U.S. based ad tech company providing solutions to leading global media publishers. He is AmCham Board Member since December 2018.
Mr. Alexandrov has a bachelor’s degree in Financial Management and Marketing from VUZF, Sofia and had a variety of trainings on sales management, strategy, people management at IBM and Oracle.
- Create an ecosystem / platform with models for technological transfers from our members or partner associations to the authorities to foster the creation and implementation of a local technological transfer model.
- Cooperation with universities and members to create awareness of the capabilities that exist in the universities and the needs of the business.
- Aim in improvement of the quality and improvement of data type collected and shared via the open data website.
- Join forces with BESCO – the Start-up Association and others to introduce the necessary changes in the Commercial Law regarding start-ups.
- Help start-ups to validate their idea with AmCham members and academia.
- Utilize existing and create new relationships and resources in U.S. to provide support to Bulgarian companies willing to enter the U.S. market.
Tax and Finance
Tax and Finance will be chaired by Milen Raykov.
Milen Raykov is a Tax and Law Partner at EY Bulgaria with 20 years of experience split by 5 years at another Big4 company and the next 15 years at EY with responsibility for Bulgaria, Albania, North Macedonia, and Kosovo. To the extent possible he has been active in AmCham North Macedonia as well. Mr. Raykov has graduated the Law Faculty of The Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski.
- Preserving the flat-tax system of taxation of companies and individuals, despite the recent proposal of the EC for a 15% minimum effective taxation.
- Continue promoting specific measures of interest of the business:
- “The R&D incentive” that was set in several AmCham White Papers and discussed with several governments
- The interest and royalties relief under the U.S. Treaty
- Active work for creating more investor friendly environment through tax and non-tax incentives
- Active cooperation with other committees
Rule of Law and Legislative Reform
Rule of Law and Legislative Reform will be chaired by Omourtag M. Petkov.
Omourtag Petkov is qualified to practice and admitted to the Bar in New York and Bulgaria and is a partner at the law firm of Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov and Velichkov (“DGKV”). He has extensive expertise in international contracts, corporate law, joint ventures, concessions, various industries regulatory matters, and has been the lead counsel on some of the landmark M&A projects in Bulgaria over the years.
Before joining the AmCham Board in May 2021, Mr. Petkov was an active founding member of the British Bulgarian Business Association, serving as its Chairman (2017 – 2019), and prior to that as its Vice Chairman (2016-2017). There he was focused on judicial reform and rule of law issues. Mr. Petkov had a lead role in the 2017 joint initiative of the major bilateral chambers in Bulgaria to advance the rule of law.
Mr. Petkov obtained his legal education in France, graduating in Business Law from the Université d’Orléans (1996) and obtaining a Master’s degree in International Economic Law from the Université de Bourgogne, Dijon (1997). He then obtained a Master’s degree in Law from the Tulane University Law School in the United States (LL.M., 2001). While attending law school, Mr. Petkov was a Fulbright Fellow, worked as guest – editor at the Tulane Law Review and as member of the Journal of American Arbitration, and was honored with the Holland Award of the Institute of International Education (New York).
He specialized at The Hague Conference on Private International Law (1998) and The Hague Academy of International Law (1999).
In view of the apparent general consensus in the business community and the society at large about the most pressing legal issues standing in the way of economic prosperity and social justice in our country, the Rule of Law and Legislative Reform Committee should serve as the core team leading AmCham’s efforts in all things legal basing its activity on the following two pillars: (i) advocacy for a true, comprehensive, apolitical judicial reform that would result in a faster, more predictable, and impartial enforcement of the laws in all areas – criminal, civil, and commercial; and (ii) work on, and advocacy for, a sweeping modernization of the business legal framework through legislative reforms that would benefit the businesses in Bulgaria and the country’s economy.
Rule of Law framework:
- Contribution with ideas for specific changes in the current judicial system;
- Advising the AmCham Board on position statements and policy papers regarding judicial reform.
Legislative Reforms priorities:
- Comprehensive modernization of the Law on Commerce.
- Improvement of the enforcement of the anti-money laundering legislation.
- Reform of public procurement and changes to the environmental protection legislation.
- Other potential legislative reforms that would benefit the business climate of Bulgaria.
Principles of Organization of the Committee’s Work
- The Committee’s work will be based on the principles of openness, flexibility, and cooperation, with meetings and events open to outside legal experts on ad hoc basis, members of other committees of AmCham, representatives from other business organizations, NGOs, and the academia.
- The work of the Committee’s members will consist in meetings and discussions, joint seminars within the cooperation described above, and work on drafting and reviewing specific texts and proposals.
Digital Committee will be co-chaired by George Ganev, and Plamen Zhechev.
Georgi Ganev is the IBM Country Manager and Technology Sales Leader, Technology Sales, Bulgaria. He has has over 10 years of leadership/management experience leading various teams on local and international level with deep knowledge in key industries like Banking, CPG, Oil&Gas and Government. Mr. Ganev is an AmCham Board member since May 2021.
He has graduated the University of National and World Economy, Master’s degree in Organization of Labor. Also, he has passed several courses such as IBM Sales School (2014), SW Top Gun (2015); Industry and Business Insights, London Business School (2016); and MD202 – Cultivating Empowerment and Accountability (2020). Among his achievements so far are: IBM Sales School – graduated with honors, IBM Hundred Percent Club, Sales Coach – Senior Knight Level, IBM License to Lead – Senior Manager.
Plamen Zhechev is Enterprise and Public Sector Manager at Cisco Bulgaria. He has 15+ years of experience in Information Technologies and high-tech industry. Most of his career was in a multinational corporate environment with focus on business development of some of the top American high-tech giants in Bulgaria and to help digitalization of the government and private organizations. Mr. Zhechev has graduated The Technical University, Sofia, Bachelor Degree in Telecommunications.
- Digital Government Transformation by accelerating Bulgaria’s Digital Agenda: improvement of the e-Gov infrastructure, Government Cloud, Big/Open data, Cyber Security, AI.
- Digital Education, Skills and Jobs – support the transformation of the educational system.
- Partnership with multiple stakeholders – IT sector, Ministry of Education, academia and secondary schools (training and qualification)
- Promotion of Bulgaria as a great IT destination
- Regulatory – fostering some pro-business legislation about the digital initiatives and proper transposition of the EU Regulations
- Digital technologies and Innovations – best practices sharing and communication in digital transformation and nurturing the digital economy culture and skills.