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Crimson Capital Senior Staff Profiles




Michael Gold
Managing Director, Crimson Capital

Michael Gold is a seasoned investment and commercial banker and management consultant with over 39 years of experience, the last 24 years of which have been resident in the emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the former Soviet Union. His specializations include increasing access to finance, competitiveness, privatization, foreign direct investment, trade, SME development, and legal and regulatory reform. As Managing Director of Crimson Capital, Mr. Gold oversees all of Crimsonís international development work, including a portfolio of 18 current projects and 5 master contracts on four continents.

Mr. Gold has developed and implemented programs in numerous countries including Uganda, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Armenia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Macedonia, Kosovo, Peru, El Salvador and Bolivia, and has pioneered the introduction and expansion of Purchase Order Finance (POF) in developing countries. His career highlights include managing the Macedonia Business Resource Center (MBRC) which helped hundreds of SMEs become more competitive and generated over $95 million in new trade and investment; establishing the Macedonia SME Commercial Finance Fund and the Crimson Finance Fund in Kosovo, both of which utilize POF to help SMEs dramatically increase sales, profits, employment and exports; advising the Czech government on privatization and enterprise restructuring, resulting in the successful privatization of over 200 major companies and over $6 billion in foreign direct investment; and helping the government of Macedonia secure a regional record price of 225 million EUR for the privatization of the national electricity distribution company, along with an investment commitment of 96 million EUR.

Mr. Gold has achieved over $7 billion USD in debt and equity financing, foreign direct investment, and export transactions in developing and emerging countries. He was worked closely with banks, central banks, investment funds and MFIs in the US and throughout the developing world. Mr. Gold holds an Executive Management degree from UCLA, and a B.A. in biochemistry and physiology from Kalamazoo College in Michigan.



Mart Bakal
Founder, Owner and Chairman of Crimson Capital Group.

Mart Bakal was a Faculty member at Harvard Business School and a Partner at Drexel Burnham Lambert. He has been active in finance, law and investments in US, Canada, Europe and Asia.

In 1991 he started Crimson Capital to participate in opportunities in emerging markets and led the privatization and restructuring of major enterprises and banks in the Czech Republic and Poland. Since then Crimson has been involved in transactions with an asset value of over $18 Billion. Today Bakal lives in Beijing where he focuses on investments in private equity and real estate. He has been a Director of numerous public and private companies and charitable organizations in Canada, United States, Europe, and China.



Sahel Philip Annabi
Financial Product Design & Development Expert

Sahel Philip Annabi is the Financial Product Design & Development Team Leader on the USAID-funded Financial Access for Investing in the Development of Afghanistan (FAIDA) project and is responsible for building the capacity of FAIDAís financial institution partners in MSME lending.

Mr. Annabi is a banking and finance expert with almost 20 years of experience in the Middle East Region. Prior to joining Crimson, he worked as a senior consultant, advising banks and financial institutions in Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Yemen. Through this consulting work, he contributed to a number of significant achievements, including introducing the Islamic-finance window concept which was implemented in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates; organizational restructuring of the biggest two banks in Iraq (Rafidain & Rasheed Banks); and designing and developing the first life planning web-tool to equip young people with financial and career skills. He also founded the first and only financial planning magazine in Jordan. Mr. Annabi has facilitated and participated in numerous conferences and training programs related to financial planning, access to finance, banking management and operations, financial planning, investments, real estate evaluation and credit, marketing and development of financial services. He has also worked for a number of International Financial Institutions including HSBC, Arab Bank, ABC Banking Corporation and the Egyptian Arab Land Bank. Mr. Annabi holds an MSc. in International Securities, Investment & Banking from ICMA Centre / The University of Reading Ė UK, as well as the Financial Advisor International Qualification from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) - UK. He speaks fluent Arabic and English.



Darko Arsov
Project Manager, Crimson Capital

Darko Arsov is a Project Manager at Crimson Capital. He has more than five years of experience managing large-scale, business and strategy development projects, for both the private sector and on international development projects. Prior to joining Crimson, Mr. Arsov was e-Commerce Manager, at ITpreneurs, in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, where he was responsible for development of e-commerce activities, including client networking, business development and marketing. He has also freelanced as a Market Research Analyst in Macedonia for a global market intelligence company, where he conducted extensive analyses of the Macedonian business sector and numerous industries. Between 2003 and 2007, Mr. Arsov worked as Technology Integration Manager for e-Schools, a USAID/Macedonia funded activity. He was responsible for designing and implementing nationwide campaign to modernize education, and developing vast ICT infrastructure in all public schools in Macedonia.

Mr. Arsov holds a BBA in Management Information System from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, and an MBA in Strategy Management from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. He is fluent in Macedonian, English and Serbian.



Lindita Bucinca
Office Manager, Crimson Finance Fund LLC, Kosovo

Ms. Bucinca is the Office Manager for the Crimson Finance Fund in Kosovo. Prior to joining Crimson, she worked as the Head of Administration for the EU Customs and Fiscal Assistance Office to UNMIK, where she was responsible for implementing and applying administrative policies and procedures and for management of the officeís operational activities, including budget preparation, tracking and reporting and liaising with financial and project managers in the European Commission DG Enlargement Team in Brussels. She also worked as a Senior Human Resources Officer for the Privatization Agency of Kosovo.

Ms. Bucinca holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from the ILIRIA University in Prishtina, and is also currently attended training and seminars in Business Management and Human Resources Management. In addition to her native Albanian, she is fluent in English and Serbian.



Richard P. Currie
Senior Finance and Banking Expert

Richard Currie is Crimson Capitalís Senior Banking and Finance Director and a board member of the Crimson SME Finance Fund in Macedonia. He is a leading expert in Purchase Order Finance and other asset-based and trade finance products and has over 30 years of experience providing commercial banking and access to finance advisory services in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the U.S He has worked to successfully design and launch new SME debt products to the market, including POF, and has provided technical assistance and training in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Kosovo, Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Georgia, Bosnia, Sri Lanka, Macedonia and Uganda. To date, these initiatives have opened up over $60 million USD in direct financing to SMEs, resulting in more than $120 million in sales and exports and created several thousands of jobs.

Mr. Currie holds a Masterís degree in Asian Studies from Indiana University, and completed the Chase Manhattan Bank Credit Training Program. Mr. Currie is fluent in Chinese and Mongolian, and speaks Russian at an intermediate level. Prior to joining Crimson, Mr. Currie was Vice President of Middle Market Lending for Barclays Bank plc., Assistant Vice President for Credit Suisse, and Assistant Treasurer of US Trust Company, where he has managed loan and investment portfolios in total of around $500 million USD.



Perunika Damjanovska
Office and Administrative Manager - Skopje, Macedonia

Ms. Damjanovska has managed Crimson Capitalís offices in Skopje since 1996, where she is responsible for all administration, accounting, and reporting. She is also in charge of communicating with Crimsonís Prague and US offices and developing business opportunities in the Balkans. Ms. Damjanovska joined Crimsonís team on the Macedonian Business Resource Center(MBRC) Project, where she coordinated administrative and office management tasks for this large scale, USAID-funded project for several years.

At present, Ms. Damjanovska manages the administrative aspects of Crimson Capitalís SME Commercial Finance Fund in Macedonia as well as other Macedonian activities. She has completed several intensive training programs for project management, financial reporting, budgeting and human resources and has extensive experience in all USAID and EU requirements and procedures. Ms. Damjanovska has a B.S. in Biochemistry and Physiology from Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje and is fluent in Macedonian and English, as well as some Italian and German.



Vjollca Dibra
Administration/Database Officer, Crimson Finance Fund L.L.C., Kosovo

Ms. Vjollca Dibra is an Administration/Database Officer at Crimson Finance Fund (CFF) in Kosovo. Prior to joining CFF, she worked as a Project Officer for SPARK supporting improved registration services and cataloguing of students files at the University of Pristina. She also worked as a Call Center Operator at Kosovo Energy Corporation J.S.C. (KEC). Ms. Dibra holds a Bachelor degree in Economics, Management and Informatics from the University of Pristina. In addition to her native Albanian, she speaks English and Turkish.



Alena Dickmann
Office and Administrative Manager - Prague, Czech Republic

Ms. Dickmann has managed Crimson Capitalís Prague offices since 1998. She is responsible for all office operations, staff, accounting, and oversight. She coordinates Crimsonís activities across its disparate branches, including issues relating to registration, legal matters and contracts with partners as well as administration of financial transactions on a number of Crimson's donor-funded projects. Ms. Dickmann also supports Crimson's global recruiting efforts and the administration of Crimson's IT system.

Prior to joining Crimson, Ms. Dickmann worked as an Import and Sales Manager for Daewoo Corporation, facilitating imports of diverse products into the Czech market during the initial transition to a market economy. From 1998-2004, she supported the management of daily operations for the Herold Brewery, including coordinating export orders and developing new sales opportunities. In addition to her native Slovak, Ms. Dickmann is fluent in Czech and English and speaks some Russian and Dutch.



Driton Fetahi
Managing Director, Crimson Finance Fund LLC, Kosovo

Mr. Fetahi is a senior finance and banking specialist with more than 17 years of experience. He began his career as a trade and international business representative and has since held a number of positions related to the development of the financial and private sectors in Kosovo. This includes working for FINCA-Kosovo as a Senior Loan Officer/Branch Manager focused on agricultural lending, and as a Credit Manager for BMF Kosovo. He has also held positions as a Risk and Collection Manager, focused on assessing market risk, operational risk, product development, and collection.

His most recent activity was for the European Agency for Reconstruction where he analyzed potential regional investments in Kosovo, completed surveys of SME development programs, to help develop industrial parks. Currently, Mr. Fetahi serves as the Deputy General Manager for the newly initiated Crimson Finance Fund in Kosovo where his responsibilities will include development of the Fundís loan portfolio, marketing, and risk management. Mr. Fetahi has an M.B.A from IEM-TUV, Technical University Vienna, and speaks English and Serbian in addition to his native Albanian.



Edisa Gjevori
Program Assistant, Crimson Capital

Ms. Edisa Gjevori has extensive experience in business lending and project management. Prior to joining Crimson Capital, she worked as a Business Loan Officer at ProCredit Bank in Kosovo, where she managed and monitored client loans and developed extensive working relationships with the Pristina business community. Prior to this, Ms. Gjevori worked in administration, finance, and languages. She holds a degree in Banking and Finance issued by the Royal University Iliria and certificates in Client Management, Strategic Planning, Sales, Finance Management and Project Management issued by the University of Business and Technology (UBT) in Kosovo. In addition to her native Albanian language, she speaks fluent Serbo-Croatian and English, and Italian at an intermediate level.



Vesna Golubovic
Senior Advisor for Northern Kosovo, Private Sector Competitiveness and Employment Generation Activity (EMPOWER) Project

Ms. Vesna Golubovic is the Senior Advisor for Northern Kosovo on the USAID-funded Private Sector Competitiveness and Employment Generation Activity (EMPOWER) Project. She has 30 years of professional experience, including of eight years of experience implementing USAID funded projects. She is experienced in economic development, SME and community development, economic growth, small and large-scale procurements for infrastructure development, and grants program activities designed for diverse sectors of the community, and particularly for women, youths and minorities. Ms. Golubovic has organized high-level events to facilitate enterprise competitiveness and access to finance. Ms. Golubovic also has 17 years of experience working as an economist for the largest Kosovar mining company (Trepca), where she managed more than 60 accountants and over 220 professional economists. She holds a bachelorís degree in economics from Pristina University and is bilingual in English and Serbian.



Robin Howell
Director - Finance & Operations

Robin Howell is one of the founders of Crimson Capital and has overseen all financial and administrative matters for the company since 1991. She enjoys more than 28 years of professional expertise in financial analysis and management, human resource administration, and corporate governance. Ms. Howell has been instrumental in facilitating Crimson Capitalís global portfolio expansion.

Ms. Howell previously served as Director of Operations for Tigera Group (formerly Fortune Computer), a publicly traded company. Ms. Howell is active in a variety of civic and charitable organizations including the Alzheimerís Association, the American Center for Law and Justice, and the National Rifle Association; and serves on the Board of Directors of Cumberland Academy of Georgia. Ms. Howell is also a member of the prestigious Business Executives for National Security (ďBENSĒ). Ms. Howell holds a B.S. in Business and Accounting from University of South Carolina.



Pleurat Hundozi
Director Ė Business Development, Crimson Capital

Pleurat Hundozi is an experienced economist with substantial practice in a wide range of areas including SME development, FDI, finance, trade, workforce development and business reform. Throughout his career, he has worked for a number of private companies and donors in various positions. Most recently, he held a post with the European Agency for Reconstruction in Kosovo, where he managed a portfolio of Economic Development projects in a total value of more than Ä45 million. Currently, Mr. Hundozi is the Director of Business Development of Crimson Capital, where his responsibilities include business development and project management. He has an academic background from Kosovo, Germany, the UK and Greece and holds a BA in Management and Informatics from Prishtina University and a MBA degree from Sheffield University. In addition to his native Albanian, Mr. Hundozi speaks English, German and a number of Slavic languages.



Arta Istrefi
Competitiveness Specialist, Private Sector Competitiveness and Employment Generation Activity (EMPOWER) Project

Ms. Arta Istrefi is a Competitiveness Specialist on the USAID-funded EMPOWER Private Sector Project. Prior to joining Crimson, Ms. Istrefi was a Political Advisor to the Minister of Trade and Industry, focusing on business climate and trade issues. She also worked for a leading consulting firm in the U.K., developing research methodologies and conducting desk research on various governance and economic development issues in Kosovo. Ms. Istrefi has a masterís of science in Economic Development and Policy Analysis from University of Nottingham, U.K. and a bachelorís degree in Banking, Finance and Accounting from University of Prishtina. In addition to her native Albanian, she speaks English and basic German.



Marko Jovanovic
Senior Loan Officer, Crimson Finance Fund LLC, Mitrovica, Kosovo

Mr. Marko Jovanovic began his professional career as a Loan Officer in 2005 working for Micro Financial Institution World Relief, eventually progressing to the position of Senior Loan Officer and later to the position of Branch Manager, where he was responsible for covering all four municipalities in Northern Kosovo. During that time, Mr. Jovanovic attended numerous trainings and specialized in working with business and agricultural loans. He later worked for the NGO ďSPARKĒ as a Project Coordinator where he worked closely with the business community and maintained the quality of the SPARK portfolio of all beneficiaries (North / South) in order for funds to be returned in accordance with the schedule of payments. He is currently studying Social Sciences. In addition to his native Serbian, he also speaks English and Albanian.



Armend Kabashi
Regional Credit Supervisor, Crimson Finance Fund LLC, Kosovo

Armend Kabashi has 5 years of experience in the banking sector. Prior to joining CFF, Mr. Kabashi worked as an Account Officer in Raiffeisen Bank, Kosovo, maintaining loan and retail portfolios. He also has 4 years of experience in the microfinance sector. He worked as a Loan Officer of the Beslidhja Microfinance Program (BMF) and at the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA), where he specialized in micro business lending. Mr. Kabashi has also worked for donor programs, including the Danish Refuge Council (DRC) and Mercy Corps International (MCI). In addition to his native Albanian, Mr. Kabashi speaks fluent English, Serbian and Croatian.



Alban Kastrati
Senior Risk Manager - Kosovo Credit Guarantee Fund

Alban Kastrati is Crimsonís Senior Risk Manager for the USAID-funded Kosovo Credit Guarantee Fund/USAID ECS Program. Mr. Kastrati has over 11 years of experience in banking sector where he has served in various capacities, most recently as Business Credit Allocation Manager for TEB Bank. He has also served as Deputy Head of the Commercial and Corporate Department (TEB Bank); Credit Coordinator (TEB Bank); and Business Lending Analyst (ProCredit). He holds a bachelorís degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Prishtina and is currently pursuing a masterís degree in Business Administration at the University of Ljubljana Ė Slovenia. In addition to his native Albanian, he also speaks fluent English and Serbian.



Jason Kuo

Jason Kuo is a Managing Director in Beijing where he heads Crimsonís activities in senior housing projects. Mr. Kuo has more than 20 years of experience in the design and management of building projects and is one of the most experienced senior living executives in China, having designed, developed managed leading retirement centers in the country since 2007.

Mr. Kuo received his Master of Architecture and Urban Design degree from Washington University in St Louis. Prior to relocating to China, Mr. Kuo taught architectural design at the Taipei University of Technology for 10 years.



Annie Liu

Ms. Liu has been the Vice President of Crimson Chinaís Beijing office for 3 years, responsible for due diligence work on properties and development partners.

Previously, Ms. Liu worked with Foglamp Research and was the Project Manager of Euromonitor, focused on due diligence on investment opportunities in China. Prior to this, Ms. Liu founded her own public relations and marketing consulting firm with Fleishman and Hillard and the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. In the earlier part of her career, Ms. Liu was a journalist with CBS News and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Ms. Liu holds a Masterís Degree from the University of British Columbia in Journalism and Marketing and a Masterís Degree from the Communication University of China in International Communications.



GegŽ Markaj
Internal Auditor, Crimson Finance Fund L.L.C, Kosovo

Gege Markaj is a certified accountant with more than eight years experience in finance and accounting. He began his career in 2003 as a Finance Officer at the OSCE Kosovo Judicial Institute. He has also worked as an accountant and tax adviser for several companies and as a private consultant.

Mr. Markaj has a degree in finance and banking from the University of Pristina and received his accreditation as a certified accountant from the Society of Certified Accountants and Auditors of Kosovo in 2008. In addition to his native Albanian, he speaks fluent English.



Liza  Marku
Job Creation Team Leader, Private Sector Competitiveness and Employment Generation Activity (EMPOWER) Project

Ms. Liza Marku is the Job Creation Team Leader on the USAID-funded EMPOWER Private Sector Project. Her professional expertise is in Sales, Marketing, Product Development and Process Management. She started her career in 2001 with the American Bank of Kosovo/Raiffeisen Bank, as Regional Branch Manager in Peja and later founded a new department at the HQ level, the Organization and Process Management Department, implementing Six Sigma, a process improvement methodology. In 2007, she joined TEB Bank as Head or Retail and Product Development Department and was part of Senior Management Team for three years, establishing the Bankís network branch by hiring and training a team of new bankers and developing and launching successful new innovative products. Afterwards she served in Banka Ekonomike as Board of Director Member for two years. She also has four years of experience working as a Marketing / Access to Finance Consultant with the USAID New Opportunities for Agriculture (NOA) project, providing support and advice to the agriculture sector in marketing and market linkages. She facilitated the launch of several new products (fresh F&V) in the local market, initiated trial exports, contributed to better promotion and increased sales and consumer awareness for local produced berries, asparagus, bagged lettuce and saffron.

Ms. Marku holds a Masterís degree in Management from Vaxjo University in Sweden and Bachelorís degree in Management and Informatics from the University of Prishtina, and is a part time lecturer with American University of Prishtina, teaching The Principles of Marketing.



Dragan Martinovski
General Manager, Crimson SME Finance Fund (Crimson Development Foundation) - Macedonia

Mr. Martinovski has extensive experience in banking and finance and has designed, delivered, and implemented SME Lending programs. He has also established policy guidelines in all phases of credit risk assessment, loan workouts, strategic planning, and marketing. He has served as an Undersecretary in the Ministry of Finance of Macedonia responsible for World Bank negotiations, the first government bonds issue, and reform of capital markets and banking. Prior to joining the SME Fund, Mr. Martinovski was the Director of the Macedonian Bank for Development Promotion, where he managed a 50 million euro SME loan portfolio.

Mr. Marinovoski has been involved in the design and development of the SME Fund since its earliest stages. His responsibilities as General Manager include credit policies and procedures, credit approval and disbursement procedures, credit risk management, lending portfolio, marketing and customer care. He has a degree in Economics from Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, and is fluent in English in addition to his native Macedonian.



Mirlinda Mejzini
Administrative Assistant, Crimson Finance Fund LLC, Kosovo

Ms. Mirlinda Mejzini is an Administrative Assistant at Crimson Finance Fund (CFF) in Kosovo. Prior to joining CFF, she worked as an administrative assistant for a number of organizations, including the OSCE, UNOPS and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. A native speaker of Albanian, Ms. Mejzini also speaks English, Serbo-Croatian, and Turkish. She holds a degree in law from AAB - RIINVEST University Pristine, Kosovo.



Besart Myderrizi
Public Financial Management (PFM) Specialist, Partnerships for Development Project, Kosovo

Mr. Besart Myderrizi is an applied economist with extensive experience in fiscal policy management. Prior to joining Crimson as a PFM specialist, Mr. Myderrizi worked as an advisor to the Economic Policy Department at the Ministry of Finance, Kosovo, where he contributed to the development of fiscal frameworks for the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and the annual budget; provided technical advice on two completed programs between the Government of Kosovo and the IMF; and contributed to the World Bank Public Finance Review. Mr. Myderrizi has also worked as an economic policy consultant for Deloitte Consulting LLP, as part of the USAID Economic Management for Stability and Growth Project.

Mr. Myderrizi holds an MSc. in Economics and Public Policy from the University of BristolĖUK, and a B.A. in Economics from the American University in Bulgaria. In addition to his native Albanian, he speaks English, Serbian, and conversational Bulgarian.



Denisa Ondrackova
Project Assistant, Crimson Capital Ė Prague, Czech Republic

Ms. Ondrackova is a member of Crimson's administrative support team. Her main duties are recruitment, project and partner identification. Ms. Ondrackova has an extensive experience in the finance sector and in sales. Prior to joining Crimson, she worked as Personal Assistant to the Financial Adviser of the British life insurance company, Aviva. She has also served as an Assistant of Sales and Management at General Bottlers, s. r. o. and has worked as a translator and a technical writer.

Ms. Ondrackova is a graduate of the University ESERP at Barcelona and holds a master degree in business management and marketing. In addition to her native Czech, Ms. Ondrackova speaks Slovak, English and Spanish fluently and German at an intermediate level.



Ramiro Ortega
Director of SME, Rural & Agricultural Finance, Crimson Capital

Mr. Ortega is a development finance specialist with more than 25 years of experience in management of commercial and development banking operations and programs, strengthening microfinance institutions and international rural finance. In addition to conducting extensive research on trade and development, he has designed legislation and regulation for capital and financial market development. Mr. Ortega previously worked as General Manager for Tironi & Associates in Bolivia, led efforts to expand rural finance in Honduras, and served as Secretary of National Planning, Capitalization, and Investment for the Government of Bolivia. He has completed consulting assignments in Armenia, Kenya, Macedonia, Mexico, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Guatemala. He is the recipient of USAIDís 2009 Award for Innovations in Value Chain Finance.

Mr. Ortega Landa designed and implemented Crimsonís highly successful activities on the ARCo project in Bolivia, through which Capital worked with the financial institution FIE to introduce Purchase Order Finance for agricultural producers in the rural, coca-growing regions of Yungas and Chapare. In less than three years, FIE issued over $18.5 million in total loans (using its own loan capital) and opened five branches in rural Yungas and Chapare. These loans created an estimated 3,500 plus full time job equivalents. In addition, rural clients opened more than 9,000 savings accounts with deposits totaling over $4.5 million and FIE moved upscale from being exclusively a micro lender to become a successful SME lender, and ultimately to transform from a regulated financial institution into a full-fledged bank.

Mr. Ortega holds a Masterís degree in Public Administration (MPA) from the Kennedy School at Harvard, as well as a Masterís degree in International Administration (MIA) from the School for International Training in Vermont. He speaks fluent English and French in addition to his native Spanish.



Shkamb Qavdarbasha
Public Financial Management Specialist

Shkamb Qavdarbasha is a Public Financial Management Specialist for the USAID funded Partnership for Development Program in Kosovo. He focuses on providing consulting to the Ministry of Finance of Kosovo and the Government of Kosovo in general on financial and business environment improvement regulation, macroeconomic consulting, financial analysis as well as capacity building.

Shkamb holds an MBA in Finance from the Carlson School of Management and a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication as well as Political Science and International Relations from the American University in Bulgaria. He previously worked as a financial consultant for Fortune 500 companies and also did equity research in Minnesota. Shkamb has extensive experience in the policy and private sector in Kosovo having served as a policy analyst for local think tanks and a business development specialist for industrial engineering companies in Kosovo.



Dafina Rexha
Communications and Social Inclusion Specialist, Private Sector Competitiveness and Employment Generation Activity (EMPOWER) Project

Ms. Dafina Rexha is the Communications and Social Inclusion Specialist at the USAID- funded EMPOWER Private Sector Project. Ms. Rexha is a qualified marketing and communications expert with more than 15 years of international experience in management, university teaching, business start-ups and business management. She taught business courses at universities in Australia and Singapore for over 13 years. In addition, she co-founded and managed successful businesses in Kosovo and Australia and has significant experience as a marketing and communications manager in various companies including at the Post and Telecommunications J.S.C. of Kosovo. In 2014, she joined World Learning and headed the Scholarships component of the USAID Transformational Leadership Program - Scholarships and Partnerships for three years.

Ms. Rexha holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Marketing and Finance from Curtin University, and an Honors Degree in Marketing from the University of Western Australia. She is currently completing her PhD studies. She speaks fluent English and Albanian.



Lovre Ristevski
Manager, Agricultural Finance and Value Chains - Macedonia

Mr. Lovre Ristevski is a banking and finance expert with more than 13 years of professional experience. Currently, Mr. Ristevski is Crimsonís Banking Relationship Manager in Macedonia for the Western Balkan Sustainable Energy Financing Facility II (WeBSEFF II). WeBSEFF II is a four-year, EBRD and EU-funded, Ä92 million on-lending facility, designed to support investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy in the Western Balkan region (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia). In tandem, Mr. Ristveski is the Manager of the USAID-funded Crimson Development Foundationís Innovation Financing Vehicle (CDF-IFV). CDF-IFV is $300,000 fund designed to support innovation in Macedonia through debt financing and quasi-equity investment. Prior to joining Crimson Capital, Mr. Ristevski was a ProCredit Branch Manager for Prilep and Bitola, where he was responsible for overseeing and managing all operations of the branches. During his tenure, he trained more than 100 employees, managed 80% of the bankís regional loan portfolio, tippled branch loan portfolios and deposits and oversaw the successful opening and start-up of an additional bank branch office in Bitola.

Mr. Ristevski has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Saint Kliment Ohridski University in Bitola and is currently working on a MBA degree at Goce Delcev University. In addition to his native Macedonian, he is fluent in English.



Shkumbin Saneja
Public Financial Management Specialist in USAID Partnerships for Development, Kosovo.

Mr. Saneja is a Public Financial Management and Financial Systems specialist with over 15 years of experience supporting the Ministry of Finance, municipalities and the Central Bank of Kosovo through USAID, EU, DFID, SIDA and World Bank projects. Recently, as Credit Component Lead for the USAID Kosovo Business Enabling Environment Project, Mr. Saneja provided technical assistance for financial sector development, supported the improvement of the public credit registry, designed component activities, and liaised with counterparts and donors. He also co-authored a World Bank funded study analyzing Public Finance Management reforms in Kosovo and was a contributor to Kosovoís Strategy for Public Administration, Kosovoís Strategy for Pre-University Education and Kosovoís E-Learning Strategy.

Mr. Saneja has a bachelors degree in management from the University of Prishtina and is certified as ISO/IEC 27001 Information Security Management Systems Lead Implementer. He speaks fluent Albanian, English and Serbian.



Arlinda Rushaj Sadiku
Spatial Planning Specialist, Partnerships for Development Project, Kosovo

Ms. Arlinda Rushaj Sadiku is an urban planner and architect with substantial experience in spatial planning and construction. Prior to joining Crimson, Ms. Sadiku contributed to the development of urban plans for Cair, Tetova and Skopje municipalities in Macedonia, practicing spatial planning, urban planning, heritage reconstruction and energy efficiency on a local level. For Tetovo Municipality, she was responsible for the entire spatial and urban planning process. Her most recent position was as a Senior Architect for the EU funded project ďBeautiful KosovoĒ, where she managed the design, procurement, implementation and inspection of 46 small and medium sized construction projects throughout Kosovo.

Ms. Sadiku has a degree in architecture and urban planning from Cyril and Methodius University. She speaks fluent Albanian, English, Macedonian as well as conversational Serbian and Turkish.



Artina Sadiku
Loan Officer, Crimson Finance Fund LLC, Kosovo

Artina Sadiku began her career in the SME sector as a Sales and Product Promotion Officer at Bonus Bonita and was subsequently promoted to a Sales Manager. Following this, she was in charge of the Accounting and Finance department of the Education Institute at the Academy of Art.

Ms. Artina graduated from Pristina University in 2006 with a BS degree in Economics. She has completed training programs in accounting, finance and project management. A native Albanian speaker, Ms. Sadiku is also fluent in English and Serbo-Croatian.



Simona Sosolceva
Senior Loan Officer, Crimson SME Finance Fund (Crimson Development Foundation) - Macedonia

Simona Sosolceva has worked for Crimson Capital since beginning her career in 1998. She started as an Investment Specialist on the MBRC program, where she helped catalyze several million dollars in new trade and investment for Macedonia. She also has played a central role in the organization and implementation of four Business and Investment Roundtables with the Government of Macedonia from 2001 Ė 2005.

Ms. Sosolceva has worked at the SME Fund since 2002, operating a broad loan portfolio for all sectors and regions of the Macedonian economy. She also implements the Fundís marketing and public relations program. Ms. Sosolceva has a B.A. in Economics from 1994 and is completing post-graduate studies on the European Union at the University of Economics in Skopje. She speaks Macedonian, English, Serbian and Bulgarian.



Nysret  Spahija
Loan Officer, Crimson Finance Fund LLC, Kosovo

Mr. Nysret Spahija has 6 years of experience in the microfinance sector. He began his professional work with microfinance institutions as an employee of the Beslidhja Microfinance Program, where he specialized in agriculture lending. While at Beslidhja Microfinance, he worked as a Risk & Marketing Assistant, as a Loan Officer, and finally as a Senior Loan Officer. Prior to his work on the Beslidhja Microfinance Program, he worked as a Logistics Officer for Norwegian People Aid (NPA).



Sonja Tasevska
Senior Loan Officer, Crimson SME Finance Fund (Crimson Development Foundation) - Macedonia

Mrs. Tasevska has 14 years of experience in the SME sector. Her career began as an employee of the Foundation for SME development, where she subsequently became a business advisor. As business advisor, she was responsible for promotion, training, and consulting of SMEs.

Mrs. Tasevska has worked at the SME Fund as Senior Loan Officer since 2003. She is responsible for promotion of Fund products, analyzing credit applications, preparing proposals, and monitoring and evaluating of delivered loans for SMEs.

Mrs. Tasevska graduated from Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje in 1992 with a BS degree in Economics with a major specialization in Banking. Between 2000 and 2002, she participated in the South Eastern Europe Program and became a Master of Training and Consulting. She is fluent in English and in a few other regional languages.



Patrick Turner

Patrick Turner has been involved with Crimson China since 2004 as an investor and a member of the Investment Committee. He is a Managing Director of Veronis, Shuler, Stevensonwhich. Previously he was the Managing Director and a member of the Management Committee of Crescent Capital Group, a leading U.S. sub-investment grade debt securities companies with over $10 billion in assets. Mr. Turner was also a Managing Director of Trust Company of the West (TCW).

Prior to joining TCW and Crescent in 2005, Mr. Turner was a Managing Partner and co-founder of Canterbury Capital Partners where he had responsibility for the firmís mezzanine investing activities. Earlier, Mr. Turner was a Director at Barclays Mezzanine Group for 6 years, and before that, a Vice President in the leverage buyout group of Marine Midland Bank and an Associate with Bankers Trust Company which he joined in 1981. He has directly or indirectly invested in over 150 companies in the US and internationally.

Mr. Turner is a member of the Board of the American Friends for Oxford University and the Squash Doubles Association. He obtained his MBA from New York University and his MA from Oxford University.



Nusret Vitija
Workforce Development Specialist, Private Sector Competitiveness and Employment Generation Activity (EMPOWER) Project

Mr. Nusret Vitija is the Workforce Development Specialist on the USAID-funded EMPOWER Private Sector Activity. He is an expert in entrepreneurship training and vocational education, including work for the Kosovo Employment and Promotion Agency, the Center of Competence and the Ministry of Trade and Industry. He has extensive experience in designing and implementing on-the-job workforce skills programs, including recruitment of participating companies and trainees and impact evaluation of OJT programs, with demonstrated success in subsequent job placement. He also has extensive experience in providing skills training in SME competitiveness projects. Mr.Vitija has a bachelorís degree in economics from the University of Prishtina and is currently working on his masterís degree in economics at Staffordshire University. In addition to his native Albanian, he speaks English, German, and Serbian.



Connie Xiao

Connie Xiao is the Finance Director of Crimson China and has been responsible for financial analysis, budgeting and accounting since 2007. Ms. Xiao has a very good understanding of corporate finance and international accounting rules through her experience with multi-national companies in China.

Before joining Crimson, Ms. Xiao was responsible for management accounting in Philip Morris China, mainly focusing on budgeting and management reporting for over 4 years.

Prior to Philip Morris, Ms. Xiao had 9 years of experience at Unilever China including as Sales Supervisor, ERP System Analyst, General Ledger Supervisor and Regional Commercial Manager.

Ms. Xiao holds a bachelorís degree in economics from Peopleís University of China.



Ruzhdi Zeqiri
Taxation Reform Specialist, Partnerships for Development Project, Kosovo

Mr. Ruzhdi Zeqiri has over 14 years of experience in tax matters and tax administration. He began his career with the Tax Administration of Kosovo (TAK) as a tax inspector in the Large Taxpayer Unit, later progressing to managerial positions, and eventually serving as Manager of the Internal Audit Unit. More recently, he was engaged as Deputy Chief of Party on the USAID funded Efficient and Sustainable of Tax Administration of Kosovo (ESTAK) project, where he was responsible for identifying and designing key performance indicators for TAK; drafting the audit manual and training tax inspectors on the best audit practices; drafting the tax compliance strategy and annual risk treatment plan; establishing audit quality standards; drafting risk analysis formulas for automated (computer) assigning of audit cases; and training Kosovo Judges and Prosecutors on tax related matters and disputes. He has also worked for private sector, as a Tax Advisor for TEB Bank.

Mr. Zeqiri has a degree in economics from the University of Pristine. He participated in the USAID-sponsored Professional Development Program and Leadership Development Program, earning recognition from USAID as an outstanding participant. He also is certified as a Trainer of Trainers. In addition to his native Albanian, he is fluent in English and Serbo-Croatian.