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Meet the speakers of the Amazon Academy 2021

Read the full bios of the speakers at the 9th Amazon Academy.
on November 17, 2021
  • Keynote
    Mark Boris Andrijanič, Minister for Digital Transformation, Republic of Slovenia
    Mark Boris Andrijanič - Republic of Slovenia. Minister for Digital Transformation.
    Mark Boris Andrijanič graduated with honors from the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana, and he holds a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree from the University of Oxford. As of April 2021, he has chaired the Strategic Council for Digitalization of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia. From 2016 to 2021, he worked for the American technology company Uber, most recently as Head of Public Policy for Central and Eastern Europe. Prior to joining Uber, Mr Andrijanič was a Visiting Fellow at the Wilfried Martens Center for European Studies in Brussels, where his research focused on the EU’s digital and economic policies. Before coming to Brussels, he advised the Government of Sierra Leone on economic reforms. In Slovenia, he co-founded and led a number of NGOs aimed at promoting active citizenship and entrepreneurship, including Mreža idej (Network of Ideas). He still leads the Oxbridge Club Slovenia, which brings together Slovenians who have studied at Oxford or Cambridge. Since 2017, he has been a David Rockefeller Fellow at the Trilateral Commission and a Millennium Fellow at the Atlantic Council. In 2021, he became a member of the Rotary Club Ljubljana. He has been a speaker at numerous international conferences on new technology both in Europe and the United States.
  • Fireside Chat
    Xavier Flamand, VP EU Seller Services, Amazon
    Picture of Xavier Flamand
    Xavier Flamand graduated from HEC in Paris (École des hautes études commerciales) with a Master in Strategic Management and is VP of EU Seller Services at Amazon. He started his career as a consultant at McKinsey & Company in Paris, and worked during 10 years at FNAC (a renowned French retail chain selling cultural and electronic products). After a few years as store manager and commercial director in France and Belgium, he became the CEO of during four years where he launched its marketplace, a first for an EU retailer. Xavier joined Amazon in Paris in 2011, where he started as a Director for the book category. After a few years as Director for the home/kitchen/toys/sport categories in France he moved to Luxembourg in 2014 to develop a new business unit supporting small vendors to sell on Amazon. In 2017, Xavier moved to the marketplace organization becoming Director of its Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) activities for EU. He moved to his current role at the beginning of 2021.
  • Panelist
    Ivan Štefanec, Member of European Parliament (Slovakia), Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats)
    Picture of Ivan ŠTEFANEC
    Ivan Štefanec is a Slovak politician and manager and former member of the Slovak parliament. He was the first Slovak person to be awarded a Dale Carnegie Leadership Award, regarded as the most significant management award.
    He entered politics in 2006. Coming from a business environment, he became aware of the obstacles and problems politicians caused to businesspersons. Thus, he understood that if he wanted things in Slovakia to evolve for the better, he must do so through a mandate coming from the citizens.
    Since 2014, when he was elected to the European Parliament where, to this day, he is an active member of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection. He is the Head of the Slovak delegation in the EPP Group, and he serves as the president of SME Europe and the Brewers of Europe.
  • Panelist
    Paul Hofheinz, President and Co-Founder of the Lisbon Council
    Picture of Paul Hofheinz
    Paul Hofheinz manages the Lisbon Council on a daily basis and is responsible for strategic oversight, including growth, publishing and development. He also maintains a personal research program, writing, publishing and speaking on topics as diverse as artificial intelligence, the future of work, innovation, startups, the knowledge-economy, human capital, growth-company finance, economic reform and European politics. Previously, Mr Hofheinz worked as a writer and editor at The Wall Street Journal, Fortune and Time magazines and the Central European Economic Review. Mr Hofheinz holds a master’s degree in the government and politics of Russia from London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale.
  • Panelist
    Antje Gerstein, Managing Director for European Policy/Sustainability, German Retail Federation (HDE)
    Picture of Antje Gerstein
    Antje Gerstein is in charge of driving sustainability for the retail sector and heads the Brussels office of HDE. Furthermore she is member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).
    She is supervising advocacy and public affairs on consolidated positions on behalf of the German retail sector vis-à-vis European Institutions as well as the German Federal Government. She puts emphasis on developing jointly with HDE’s membership appropriate answers to a society that pays more and more attention to all dimensions of sustainability, environment and climate impact. Even when views with stakeholders are opposed, she is determined to secure constant dialogue and a fair balance of interests, a skill she acquired in her previous positions in numerous negotiations with trade unions.
    Before joining HDE in 2017 she was for eight years Managing Director with the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA) and Permanent Delegate of BDA within BUSINESSEUROPE. Previously, she has supervised International Social Policy as Deputy Director of the "European Union and International Affairs" department of BDA and was the delegate of the German employers at the International Labour Conference of the ILO in Geneva.
    After her studies of Geography, Regional Planning and Rural Development at the universities of Tübingen and Stuttgart, she graduated with a master degree in Geography. Always internationally interested, she held positions at the Carl Duisberg Society, the European Commission and a consulting firm for European funded projects in Cologne and Brussels.
  • Panelist
    Lucia Cusmano, Deputy Head of Entrepreneurship, SME and Tourism Division, Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities (OECD)
    Portrait of Lucia Cusmano
    Lucia Cusmano is Senior Economist and Deputy Head of the Entrepreneurship, SME and Tourism Division at the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Regions and Cities (CFE). She leads OECD work on SME and Entrepreneurship Transformations and has authored OECD reports on SME financing, innovation and sustainability, and benchmarking of SME and entrepreneurship policy.
    Ms Cusmano has a PhD in Economics from the University of Pavia and has completed a Master of Science in Economics at Warwick University (UK). She has published in international journals on SMEs, entrepreneurship, innovation, structural change and economic development.
  • Introduction speech
    James Waterworth, Director EU Public Policy, Amazon
    Portrait image of James Waterworth Director of EU Public Policy
    James Waterworth has been Head of EU Public Policy at Amazon from September 2017, after 10 years of experience in the field. He is experienced in Government Affairs professional in Internet, tech and telecoms.
    He is a contributor to the BBC, CNN, France 24, Deutsche Welle, the Financial Times and the WSJ, and speaks English, Finnish, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
  • Moderator
    Katrina Sichel
    Picture of Katrina Sichel
    London-born, Brussels-based, Katrina has 25 years’ experience in communications as an Event Presenter/Moderator, TV Producer and Campaign Director. Among other roles in an eclectic career, as Head of Production for an award-winning TV PR company, Katrina produced syndicated news reports for the BBC, Channel 4, Sky, ITV, Reuters, AP, CNBC etc., interviewing high-profile figures from the business, politics, arts, sport and fashion spheres – Tony Blair, David Hockney and JK Rowling; Tom Hanks, Sir Alex Ferguson and Diana Ross, to name a few.
  • Amazon Academy promo banner presenting the event
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