FIVE HAVE CLIMBED THE TOP IN THE FINANCE AND CREDITS SECTOR
THE BANKER WEEKLY HANDED BANK MANAGEMENT ANNUAL AWARDS FOR THE TENTH CONSECUTIVE YEARFive days before the Banker's Day (December 6) the BANKER weekly handed for the tenth time its Banker of the Year annual awards, distinguishing the best managers in the finance and credits sector for 2003. During the almost eleven years of its circulation the BANKER has been inevitably trying to show to its audience the positive performance in bank management, without keeping silent about the faults, lapses and mistakes of the people who manage billions of levs. It might sound like a banality, but we'll recall that not a single bank could have a prosperous business without successful managers. That is why the BANKER lays the accent on the achievements of senior managers, awarding the best performing ones with the Banker of the Year prize. The BANKER weekly conferred its first Banker of the Year prize for 2003 to the executive directors of Biochim Commercial Bank Lyudmil Gachev and Roumen Beremsky.The two of them successfully dealt with the challenges, accompanying in the last year Biochim's merger with Hypovereinsbank Bulgaria and the resulting restructuring of the consolidated bank. Thanks to the team, headed by Mr. Beremsky and Mr. Gachev, Biochim extended its market positions while these subtle processes were going on. In end-September the credit institution's balance sheet value totalled BGN1.1BN, up from BGN653MN a year earlier. Within the same period the aggregate amount of the loans allocated by the bank tripled, going up from BGN176MN to BGN517MN, and its profit increased from BGN6.4MN to BGN18.7MN.Mr. Gachev and Mr. Beremsky were appointed executive directors of Biochim after in November 2002 it was purchased by Bank Austria against EUR82.5MN. After the finalization of the privatisation deal, the Austrians announced they would merge Biochim, whose Management Board was chaired by Roumen Beremsy, and Hypovereinsbank Bulgaria, managed by Lyudmil Gachev. Despite the difficulties, the two of them succeeded to create a good managerial team, proving their professionalism. Although there are 302 financial institutions in Bulgaria, not many of them, born in the bosom of private entrepreneurship, have managed to survive for twelve years in the stormy waters of the transition period, attract a big foreign investor as a partner, and are currently successfully offering all kinds of financial services. One of the founders of Allianz Bulgaria Holding - Dimiter Zhelev - can be said to have successfully walked all that way. The holding's subsidiaries in the insurance and pension insurance sectors are presently among the largest on these markets. Allianz Bulgaria Bank, established in 1997 on the ruins of the bankrupt Yambolska Banka, is within the holding's structure as well. Till October 2003 the credit institution of Allianz Bulgaria Holding was called Bulgaria Invest. Then, for the first time in its 70-year-long history, the German insurance giant allowed its name to be given to a bank, at that in Eastern Europe. So, Bulgaria Invest, set up under the chairmanship of Dimiter Zhelev, was renamed to Allianz Bulgaria as of October 13, 2003. The 2003 Banker of the Year award of the BANKER weekly was given to Dimitar Zhelev due to his skills, staunchness, and reliability.If DZI's motto is Prosperitas securitas (Guardian of prosperity), then the future emblem of the DZI-ROSEXIMBANK financial group might bear the inscription: Per aspera ad astra (Through steep slopes to the stars). Because its owner and Manager, Emil Kyulev, has overcome a number of barriers before he achieved his goal - to establish a Bulgarian financial group. That was an obsession which Mr. Kyulev had been chasing for since the dawn of democracy in Bulgaria when he first entered the financial business. In the past fourteen years he has been among the few businessmen who suceeded to survive through all economic cataclysms in the country. And one of those who not only kept their businesses but also expanded them.During the past 14 years Emil Kyulev took part in the establishment of three commercial banks. In 2002, he acquired DZI, but only in 2003 did he make his dream come true. Since in late November 2003 the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) permitted DZI to be the direct owner of a 50.05% stake in ROSEXIMBANK, the DZI-ROSEXIMBANK financial group is already reality. That's why the BANKER weekly awarded Mr. Kyulev its prize for manager of the Bulgarian financial group DZI-ROSEXIMBANK.The last but not least important prize of the BANKER weekly was awarded to Raiko Karagyozov for his entire contribution to the development of the banking sector.Raiko Karagyozov is one of those people who are reasonably considered the live history of the Bulgarian banking system. Born in Sofia, he started working for DSK in 1977 after graduating from the Karl Marx Economic Institute in Sofia. He passed through all levels of the administrative hierarchy in DSK.Initially, he worked as a pay-desk officer in the bank's Sofia-based branch. Then he moved to the Information counter in the Home Crediting branch. Gradually he moved up the hierarchy and in 1992 was appointed deputy chairman of the savings bank. He worked there till September 1997 when he was dismissed by the government of Ivan Kostov.The change of power in 2001 brought another change for the banker. In the autumn of that year he was invited back to the bank (already called DSK Bank) and was offered an executive director position. Raiko Karagyozov accepted the offer realizing that he was going to a bank which was about to be sold and he might again lose his post.The Hungarian bankers from OTP who are the new owners of DSK Bank offered him a higher salary but a lower position. He refused. He left the bank and became curator of Municipal Bank where he has been working since the beginning of the week.