Expat CEO of the Year 2024 Shortlist Announced


From left: Raffaella Claudia Bondi, Chresten Bruun, and Arne Klehn

The official shortlist of nominees for the Budapest Business Journal’s Expat CEO of the Year Award 2024 has been announced.

Revealed first to members of the BBJ’s Boardroom Meeting at the Matild Palace on Feb. 22, the shortlist are the candidates from which the 10th annual Expat CEO of the Year will be chosen and awarded at an invitation-only Black Tie gala in the Corinthia Hotel Budapest’s Grand Ballroom on Saturday, March 23.

In alphabetical order by surname, they are: Raffaella Claudia Bondi of Roche Hungary; Chresten Bruun of Lego; and Arne Klehn of the Budapest Marriott Hotel & Marriott Executive Apartments.

Raffaella Claudia Bondi is general manager of Roche Hungary and a board member of the Innovatív Gyógyszergyártók Egyesülete (Association of Innovative Pharmaceutical Manufacturers or AIPM). An Italian national, she was appointed to Budapest in August 2021, having arrived from Basel, Switzerland. The pharma company has two sites in Budapest and employs more than 2,000 workers, 200-plus of whom work in critical areas and functions for Roche.

Chresten Bruun is general manager of the Lego factory at Nyíregyháza and senior vice president at the Lego Group. A Danish citizen, he has been based in Hungary since June 2021, initially as SVP for EMEA molding and Duplo, but since May 2023 as SVP for EMEA manufacturing, covering the Danish, Hungarian and Czech Republic markets. On September 28, 2023, the Lego Group announced a HUF 50 billion expansion to its 15-year-old factory in Nyíregyháza, creating additional production capacity to continue to meet strong demand. In 2008, Bruun was part of the “Discovery” group that toured CEE and chose Hungary for its factory site.

Arne Klehn is the multi-property general manager of the Budapest Marriott Hotel & Millenium Court Executive Apartments and the Marriott Worldwide Business Councils guidance chair for Europe. Born in Germany, he moved to Budapest in May 2018 and has been at the center of local and expat hospitality and networks ever since. During his time here, the hotel has undergone a EUR 10.5 million renovation program. Interior refurbishments continue, the latest examples being the iconic Liz and Chain Sky Lounge in January and February 2024 and a EUR 1.4 mln project at the in-house laundry.

The title of Expat CEO of the Year is given to the business leader who has done the most for the country’s development and international recognition through his or her professionalism and outstanding achievements in the past 12 months. The award is now a tradition dating back a decade; it has been granted annually since 2015.

A professional awards committee chose the shortlist. The same jury will select the eventual winner in the minutes before the gala starts on March 23.

For more information about the award, including the names of the jury members, previous Expat CEO of the Year winners and for reports from the earlier galas, see our dedicated website:

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of March 8, 2024.

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