Since its inception in 2003, the Hellenic Business Association of Serbia, a private, non-government, non-lobbying, non-profit organisation, has been devoted to activities with one ultimate goal – to help the advancement of Greek-Serbian economic relations.
In 2015, the Hellenic Business Association of Serbia undertook many different activities in line with its goals.
Following the initiative of the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (FING) to support the internationalisation and expansion of Greek business activities in Southeast Europe, HBA became a member of the “Union of Greek Business Associations in Southeast Europe”.
In February, the HBA organised its traditional annual event of cutting “vasilopita” pie at Hotel Metropol Palace. A month later, on 25th March, the HBA was the official sponsor of a reception at the Metropol Palace hosted by the Embassy of Greece in Belgrade to celebrate the country’s National Day.
The HBA Management Board and representatives of the Embassy of Greece met with Greek Deputy Minister of State for Coordinating Government Operations, Terence Kuik, during his official visit to Belgrade on 23rd June. The HBA Management Board and main sponsors also took the opportunity to meet with Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Amanatidis during his visit to Belgrade. The reception was held at the Greek Ambassadorial residence on 2nd December.
One of the main activities in 2015 was the implementation of a programme of practical training for students at HBA Member Companies, which proved to be very successful. The HBA also supported students through the conference “Diplomatic Days of Greece” at Belgrade University’s Faculty of Law, which was dedicated to economic, political, cultural, historical and social ties between Greece and Serbia.
Throughout the year, the HBA held an introductory cocktail reception for members of the French-Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the HBA, a cocktail reception of Greek–Serbian synergy with the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce, a dinner with the Grand Sponsors of the Association, an Autumn Members’ Meeting in September, as well as the traditional Christmas dinner.
Along with the Embassy of Greece to Serbia, the Greek National Tourist Organisation and the Belgrade branch of the Hellenic Foundation of Culture, the HBA supported the three-day event “Days of Greece” in November. Along with the Rigas Velestinlis International Institute for Balkan Cooperation, HBA supported a commemoration in memory of Rigas Feraios, known in Serbian as Riga od Fere. With the support of HBA’s members, famous Greek musician George Dalaras participated in the Belgrade Guitar Art Festival, while HBA members also helped the Greek stand at the IWC Charity Bazaar, providing support in money and goods.
New Board of directors
The HBA elected a new Board of Directors at its November 2015 General Assembly.
Georgios Papanastasiou, President of the Management Board
Georgios Papanastasiou holds a BSc in Economics from Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University and an MBA from Bentley College, the U.S. He started his career in the banking sector in 1987 as a credit assistant at the Bank of Nova Scotia, after which, in 1991, he joined ABN AMRO Bank and served as Relationship Manager and Area Commercial Manager.
From the year 2000, Mr Papanastasiou continued his career at Stopanska Banka, where he held several management positions before being appointed General Manager in 2005.
In 2009 he left the position of Second General Manager at Stopanska Banka, a member of the NBG group in FYROM, and joined the Alpha Bank team. He became a member of the Executive Board of Alpha Bank Srbija in April 2009, and in May that same year took over the duties of President of the Executive Board of Alpha Bank Srbija.
Vasilis Kakagiotis, Vice President of the Management Board
Vasilis Kakagiotis is Deputy General Manager of Robne Kuće Beograd (the largest retail real estate platform in the region, with over 250,000 NLA and 38 department stores). He joined Robne Kuće Beograd in September 2014, after having spent 13 years in the position of General Manager at Veropoulos Supermarkets Serbia.
Prior to taking control of Serbian operations, he served the company as Deputy General Manager of FYROM operations for four years. Mr Kakagiotis has amassed 28 years of experience in pure retail business, all gained from serving in multiple positions within the Veropoulos organisation. He studied as a Topographer Engineer at the Technical Educational Foundation of Athens (“TEI”).
Zafiris Lampadaridis, Member of the Management Board
Zafiris Lampadaridis, born 1970, holds a BSc in Electrical Automation & Robotics and a Master’s in Business Administration. He began his career in the construction industry in 1994 and has been engaged in a number of largescale industrial construction projects in the power generation field of engineering in Greece, working within an international environment. He transferred to the hospitality industry in 1999, when he started working at Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki.
Since then he has been engaged in various assignments in the hospitality and gaming industries in Thessaloniki (GR), Warsaw (PL), Milan (IT), Athens (GR) and Bucharest (RO). He currently resides in Belgrade, where he has been since 2009, engaged as General Manager of the Hotel Excelsior and Director of Engineering at Hyatt Regency.
He was re-elected as a member of the Board of Directors of the Hellenic Business Association in 2015 for another two-year term, where he also acts as treasurer. Mr Lampadaridis is married to Jelena Bralić and is a proud father of two sons, Giorgos (7) and Alexandros (2).
Stefanos Karapetsis, Member of the Management Board
Stefanos Karapetsis became General Manager of Mellon Serbia in 2010 and is one of the founders of Mellon Technologies, the parent company of a Group that now extends to 11 countries in Central and Southeast Europe. At Mellon, Mr Karapetsis has held the positions of Marketing and Sales Director of Business Units and the entire group. Prior to Mellon, he was a founding member of Ideal Group, where he led IT activities as GM of Ideal company IMTEC from 1989 to 1994.
He started his IT career in 1977 at Scapaneus SA, a major construction company, then (1993) he worked as Sales Director at Informer, an IT company and IBM distributor. He has also worked as a freelance IT consultant and participated in several bodies, such as being a member of BoD of Greek ICT Enterprises (SEPE), member of the Strategic Committee of Digital Greece 2020, member of the Steering Committee of the e-Europe Smart Card initiative and as an accredited expert of the European Commission in the security domain. He studied Physics at Macalester College, MN in the U.S. as a Fulbright scholar and has earned several IT diplomas.
Stelios Zakof, Member of the Management Board
Stelios Zakof was born in 1969 (Mytilini, Greece) and spent his childhood in Germany. After completing high school in Thessaloniki, he moved to Belgrade to earn a university degree.
Besides holding a BA, he also has a Master’s degree in Business Development – University Kurt Bosch Sion, Switzerland. Mr Zakof started his professional career in 1995, working for Anthemia company (a daughter company of Chipita SA), where in 1999 he was promoted to the position of supervisor of sales for North Greece.
In 2001 he relocated to Belgrade and from the very first day has served as Country Manager of Chipita. Along with his mother tongue, he also speaks English, German and Serbian fluently. He is a married father of two children, Eleni and Konstantinos.