Owner & Chief Executive Officer
Lado Gurgenidze, 41, is a career banker who after a decade spent at several investment banks in Eastern Europe and London returned to his native Georgia in 2004 and spearheaded, as Executive Chairman and CEO, a turnaround of Bank of Georgia (LSE: BGEO). During Lado’s three-year tenure, the bank’s total assets and net income grew 855% and 1,775%, respectively. As its market share grew from 18% to 34%, Bank of Georgia became the leading universal bank in Georgia and the region with market capitalisation exceeding US$900 million at the time of Lado’s departure (up from US$30 million at the time of his arrival). Prior to taking the helm at Bank of Georgia, Lado served as Head of Europe at Putnam Lovell (now part of Jefferies) and as Head of Technology Corporate Finance and Head of M&A, Emerging Europe at ABN Amro advising such clients as SWIFT, Reuters, Moneyline Telerate, Wirtualna Polska, Marconi, Andrew Corporation, Merloni Elettrodomestici, News Corp, Global One, Golden Telecom, UPC and Philips.
In 2007-2008, Lado served as Prime Minister of Georgia, leading the Georgian economy through the final stage of free-market reforms, including tax cuts, financial services sector reform as well as aggressive privatisation and liberalisation policies. In the aftermath of the August 2008 conflict with Russia, Lado was instrumental in stabilising the Georgian economy and its financial sector, as well as securing a US$750 million IMF stand-by arrangement and a $4.5 billion multi-donor aid package.
Lado put Georgia on the global institutional investor map, leading the first-ever international equity and debt capital markets issues by Bank of Georgia and the Georgian government as well as the country’s first-ever domestic IPOs. He is responsible for bringing in approximately US$1 billion of portfolio investments and close to US$500 million of FDI. Lado is the only person to have been awarded St George’s Victory Order (in 2008) and the Presidential Order of Excellence (in 2010) – the two highest civilian honours in Georgia.
Since he stepped down as Prime Minister, Lado has been a frequent public speaker on issues of economic liberty and free-market reforms in developing countries and co-chaired, in 2009-2010, the Emory Center for Alternative Investments. In August 2009, he was invited to join, as Chairman, the supervisory board of Bank of Kigali, the largest bank in Rwanda, and led the bank’s modernisation culminating in a successful US$62.6 million IPO in September 2011.
In August 2009, Lado established, together with Dinu Patriciu, Liberty Investments, an investment company focusing on financial services institutions in frontier markets with low corruption, low taxes and open economies. In the same month, Liberty Investments announced the acquisition of a controlling equity interest in Liberty Bank, which has the largest client base in Georgia, serving some 1.4 million clients through 542 branches and distribution outlets. By YE 2010, the first phase of the turnaround has been completed, with the rebranded bank returning to profitability and growing much faster than the Georgian banking sector. Since September 2009, Liberty Bank’s total assets grew by 273% (more than three times faster than the Georgian banking sector) to US$629 million, and its market share by total assets grew from 3.5% in September 2009 to 7.4% in April 2013.
Lado is married with four sons. He is a Georgian and British citizen and received his MBA from Goizueta Business School of Emory University in 1993 (and is the recipient of the 2010 Sheth Distinguished International Alumni Award), following undergraduate studies at Middlebury College and Tbilisi State University. In 2006, Lado hosted the licensed Georgian version of The Apprentice TV show, and in 2011 he co-hosted a business reality TV show together with the mayor of Tbilisi and heads of two largest banks. In 2010 Lado served as judge on the Investment Banking Awards panel of The Banker magazine.
Updated 2013-06-03 15:28:12