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Celebrating excellence in the energy sector: top energy influencers in CEE announced

In a momentous celebration of innovation, dedication and leadership in the energy sector, CEENERGYNEWS is proud to announce, for the first time, the winners of the CEENERGYNEWS Awards. The campaign was launched in April 2023, on the occasion of CEENERGYNEWS’ 3rd birthday and sought to recognise outstanding individuals who have played a pivotal role in driving sustainability, navigating current challenges, fostering innovation and inspiring positive change in the dynamic landscape of the energy world.

Almost 20,000 people voted for the 50 nominees coming from 20 different countries from the whole Central and Southeastern European region.

The Most Influential Energy Leader
Winner: Franck Neel, Executive Board Member, OMV Petrom

Franck Neel, the recipient of the Most Influential Energy Leader award, has demonstrated exemplary leadership. In the face of recent challenges within the energy industry, Franck Neel not only adapted strategically but also inspired his team to reach new heights. He spent more than 25 years working in the energy industry, for different international companies, always present in the region, in countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania. This award reflects Franck Neel’s commitment to driving his company’s sustainability agenda, responding adeptly to industry challenges and serving as a true inspiration to his team.

The Most Influential Energy Expert
Winner: Zsófia Beck, Managing Director and Partner, Boston Consulting Group

Zsófia Beck has been recognised as the Most Influential Energy Expert for her groundbreaking work that has significantly impacted the energy world. By initiating constructive discussions and challenging conventional thinking, Zsófia Beck has shaped the local and global energy industry, being responsible for the transformation of the biggest energy companies in the region. Now, as Managing Director and Partner at Boston Consulting Group, based in Budapest, she leads the firm’s activities in the Energy and Climate and Sustainability sectors in CEE. This award acknowledges Zsófia Beck’s contribution to creating opportunities for meaningful discussions and debates, leaving an indelible mark on the energy sector.

The Best Young Energy Influencer
Winner: Rareş Hurghiş, Strategy Expert, ENGIE Romania

Recognising the importance of the younger generation, Rareş Hurghiş has been named the Best Young Energy Influencer. Rareş Hurghiş has made a substantial contribution to the energy sector, working for one of the biggest international energy companies, present in more than 30 countries and with over 96,000 employees. His efforts have not only inspired fellow young professionals but have also played a crucial role in shaping his company’s policies. He possesses more than 9 years of expertise in the energy industry, encompassing distribution and provision, natural gas and electricity, as well as renewable energies.

Most Influential Women Energy Leaders
Winners: Arijeta Pajaziti Qerimi, SCADA EMS Specialist at KOSTT and Boyana Achovski, Secretary General, GIE

In a nod to gender diversity and breaking the “glass ceiling” in the energy sector, CEENERGYNEWS, together with the Women in Energy Association proudly recognises Arijeta Pajaziti Qerimi and Boyana Achovski, as the Most Influential Women Energy Leaders.

Arijeta Pajaziti Qerimi has been part of the sector for more than 20 years. She currently works as a specialist SCADA/EMS in the Kosovo Transmission System and Market Operator (KOSTT) and she contributes to the advancement of the national agenda for the inclusion of women in energy as the Executive Director of the Association of the Women in the Energy Sector of Kosovo.

Boyana Achovski is the Secretary General of Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE), the association representing the interests of European gas infrastructure operators, 68 members from 27 countries that operate Europe’s renewable and low-carbon gas transmission, storage and LNG regasification terminals.

These exceptional women have not only excelled in their respective fields but have also become shining examples for other women, inspiring younger generations to pursue and excel in the energy industry, helping to narrow the gender gap in the energy world.

Special Media Award
Winner: Teodora Georgieva, Executive Officer, ICGB

A special category was created by the editorial staff of CEENERGYNEWS to award Teodora Georgieva, Executive Officer of the ICGB. Teodora Georgieva has shown extensive knowledge of the energy industry, being always available to share precious insights with us and through us with a wide regional audience of the sector and beyond. She is a leader and a pioneer in painting a new map of Europe’s gas infrastructure while laying the foundations for the future hydrogen-based economy. Furthermore, she has a very strong social media presence, spreading a positive message around the energy sector. An inspiring individual for us journalists covering the energy industry.

CEENERGYNEWS extends its heartfelt congratulations to all the winners, the finalists and all the nominees, for their tireless efforts in advancing the energy industry. This awards campaign stands as a testament to the transformative impact these leaders and experts have had on the Central and Eastern European energy landscape.

We are looking forward to recognising the next leading energy experts in the region in the second edition of the CEENERGYNEWS Awards in 2025.

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