Congratulations, Enjoyment, and Restrictions (Maybe)


Stokkete /

There can be only one place to start this issue’s editorial, and that is with warm congratulations to Erik Slooten, CEO of Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions Hungary, on being named the winner of the (much delayed) 2021 BBJ Expat CEO of the Year Award on September 24.

We should equally say “well done” to our two runners-up, Prabal Datta of Tata Consultancy Services and Daniel Korioth of Bosch. It was an extremely strong lineup this year. Melanie Seymour of Blackrock, last year’s winner and this time round a member of the awards jury, said in announcing the winner that, having been on both sides of the fence, she could confirm choosing first the shortlist and then the winner “really is a process” and no easy task.

At the risk of seeming immodest, I think it is fair to say the enjoyment and excitement on the evening were palpable. I suggested to Róbert Ésik, CEO of our official event partner HIPA, that some of that was down to the simple joy people had at being back in a room with a large group of peers, partners, and friends. He was kind enough to respond that, as we had put on the event and made that coming together possible, we should allow ourselves at least a modicum of praise.

Part of that sheer pleasure in human interaction comes from the novelty factor. We were deprived of it for so long, we have learned to appreciate it anew. And lurking in the background, adding a certain imperative to make hay while the sun shines, is the question no one wants to ask: Might it be taken away from us again?

I had an interesting conversation on that very point with the head of communications at what we might call (although I don’t like the term) one of the “Western” embassies. This person has a theory that some form of restrictions might well return, but not before the end of the international “One With Nature” World of Hunting and Nature Exhibition, which began the day after our gala and runs until October 14.

My contact says this theory is based, in part, on the fact that when it was shared, as a joke, with someone involved with the Operative Corps coordinating the COVID response, the suggestion was met with a wide-eyed stare and a demand to know “Where did you hear that?” Perhaps they were playing along, who can say; I merely pass it along and note that you read it here first!

It is worth pointing out that the prime minister has said restrictions, if needed at all, would not return “until the last minute possible.” You can read more about that in our regular Coronavirus Roundup inside. There is also extensive coverage of the gala (well, as I said several times on the night, we are a media company), a Special Report on the Energy Sector and, just a few days after German Unity Day (marking the reunification of the GDR and the FRG, of East and West) on October 3, we have a Country Focus on German investment in Hungary and the bilateral relationship. Enjoy our latest issue.

Robin Marshall


This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of October 8, 2021.

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