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BBJ Expat CEO of the Year Shortlist Announced

With the third annual Budapest Business Journal Expat CEO of the Year Gala just around the corner, the jury has announced its shortlist of candidates.

The BBJ founded the award back in 2015 with the aim of rewarding the efforts of expat CEOs working and living in Hungary, who have contributed most to the development of the Hungarian economy and raising the country’s international recognition through their professionalism and dedicated work. 


“The BBJ is Hungary’s only English-language economic bi-weekly, and has always played an important role in providing information for foreign CEOs working and living in Hungary; that is why we decided to found an award and recognize their efforts annually,” said Balázs Román, the CEO of Absolut Media Zrt., publishers of the newspaper.

Since the beginning, the event has been run in partnership with the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA), which presents its own “Local Partnership” award at the gala, given in recognition of the outstanding use of Hungarian suppliers.

The tricky task of picking the winner goes to our regular jury, which, since the launch, has been comprised of Dr. László Szabó, Deputy Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Írisz Lippai-Nagy, CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hungary; Dale A. Martin, President of the German-Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and President and CEO of Siemens Hungary; and Balázs Román. By tradition, the fifth seat on the jury is taken by the previous year’s winner, meaning Jost Ernst Lammers, CEO of Budapest Airport Zrt., gets to see the process from the other side.

This year’s winner will be revealed at the invitation only gala at the Corinthia Hotel Budapest on the evening of February 10. To keep the suspense going, the decision is made immediately before the gala; not even editor-in-chief Robin Marshall, who has hosted the event since its launch, knows the name of the winner until it is pulled from the envelope.

BBJ Expat CEO of the Year Shortlist

Joerg Bauer

President GE Hungary
Managing Director GE Hungary Kft.

Bauer is the President of GE Hungary and has been based in Budapest since October 1, 2013. His says his goal is to build on GE’s key partnerships in Hungary and the region to drive common sustainable growth. Today, GE in Hungary has more than 10,000 employees spread across 12 plants, five R&D and engineering centers and one of GE’s five Global Operations Centers.

Prior to his current role, Bauer, a German national, was CFO for GE Healthcare in CEE. He previously worked with Audi and Mettler-Toledo, partly also based in Hungary. Bauer also serves as the president of the Board of Trustees of the Sports University in Budapest. He also co-leads the Innovation Task Force of the Hungarian American Chamber of Commerce and is one of the two vice presidents of the Hungarian Association of International Companies.

Stephan Interthal

General Manager
Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest

On September 1, 2014 Stephan Interthal returned to Budapest, where he held the position of general manager from 1997 to 2004, during which time he implemented a comprehensive refurbishment project at the Corvinus. Now he has orchestrated ambitious renovation works to overhaul all of the rooms and suites, the spa and the restaurant.

Before his return, Interthal was in charge of Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow from July 2013, where he oversaw the final stages of a EUR 20 million renovation project. Prior to Moscow, he managed the Kempinski’s flagship property in China. Interthal is a graduate of the Cornell University and the recipient of a European Business MBA from Reims Management School in 2000. Throughout his career, he has consistently advocated for providing customers with impeccable service that exceeds expectations.

Jesper Hassellund Mikkelsen

Senior Vice President European Moulding and DUPLO
Head of LEGO Moulding Denmark
General manager LEGO Manufacturing Hungary

Jesper Hassellund Mikkelsen has a BSc in finance and accounting and a MSc in International Marketing. He joined the LEGO Group in 2002 and has worked primarily in the finance operation and manufacturing fields. Since 2012 he has been head of European Moulding & DUPLO, and as senior vice president a member of Lego Corporate management. From the time he joined LEGO in 2002 until 2011 he was head of finance operation and vice president. Previously he worked as an expat from 1996-2000 when he was finance manager at Danfoss Mexico, and from 2000-2001 he was a group controller at Royal Scandinavia A/S.

Hassellund Mikkelsen was born in 1969 and lives in Budapest with his wife and their two children.

Marc de Bastos Eckstein

Executive Director
ThyssenKrupp Presta Hungary Kft.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, the 41-year-old Marc de Bastos Eckstein is half Brazilian and half German. At the age of 12 he moved back to Germany, and graduated from the University of Giessen with a degree in economics.

In 2012 he earned an MBA from the renowned ESCP Europe Business School in Paris. In 2001 he joined ThyssenKrupp, having previously worked for Accenture and KPMG.

In 2007, he moved to Hungary as the head of ThyssenKrupp Presta Hungary, but for seven years was also involved in parallel in the management of one of the German units, and so spent half the week in Stuttgart and the other half in Budapest. He has focused exclusively on Hungary since 2014. De Bastos Eckstein is married and has two children, aged eight and five.

Rick P. Enders

General manager
Budapest Marriott Hotel & Marriott Executive Apartments

Enders has been general manager of the Marriott and Millennium Court since March 2014. He is responsible for total hotel operations at two properties, providing strategic direction and guidance to the executive team. He is charged with improving and maintaining operational performance related to revenues, operating profit, guest satisfaction and market share. He is a board member of the Netherlands-Hungarian Chamber of Commerce.

The Dutch national says great memories are born out of exceptional experiences, and has a passion to create those, with his teams, by being creative and staying curious. He has experience across three continents and nine different countries, having previously been general manager at a number of Marriott hotels in Prague, and director of operations in Warsaw. He began his career with Marriott International as a sous chef in 1988.