EPIC Awards 2022 Finalist
Deputy Chief Executive Officer of TBC Bank. IMBA 2007
I am from Georgia, a small country, a former Soviet State. I was born in 1982 and in 10 years I went through the first war in my country, a civil war. The 90s, which for Soviet Space where the years of total destruction and poverty, where very hard for my family too. My father, an architect, was left without any new projects, my mom was receiving a super small salary and it was literally impossible to feed the family, nothing extraordinary for a typical family in Georgia in the 90s. In those years I had to think how to make sure I survived the street life and at the same time develop somehow. We put the bet on basketball and on foreign languages. I was very good at basketball, even achieving the kids national team membership. This allowed me to be very disciplined and “healthy”, in all understandings of this word. Later I got the highest level language certificates for English and German and by the end of the 90s was enrolled to the best business school of the country. Suddenly, my father passed away, it was an accident which nobody expected. This was of course a huge personal trauma, but also a huge economic setback as he was the only one to earn money at home and to help me and my brother to finance our studies. Actually this was the moment in my life where something clicked in my head and I never stopped the rollercoaster ever after. I started to teach foreign languages in parallel with my studies and next year I won a scholarship to do an exchange year in Germany, I got married and in a year time got the first kid with the age of 22. Same year I started my first corporate job at the biggest bank in Georgia. On the third year of work I got promoted to a extended board member position at the age of 24. I understood that even if I was entrusted to be on this level I was not ready and I decided to quit – this is where I came to IE. I can honestly say that graduating from IE was the start of the Rollercoaster 2.0. I got hired by the biggest Italian Bank, Unicredit, in Vienna. In two years I was promoted to the Executive Board Member position at Unicredit’s subsidiary bank in Kazakhstan, where I got the responsibility with the age of 28 for apprx. 2,500 people division. Since then I moved to several different organizations. Was twice CEO of banks which I later merged into a bigger banking group, and the latest was launching the first fully digital bank in Georgia and Uzbekistan. So to sum up with my 40, I somehow managed to have lived in 7 countries, to have 3 kids – the elder being 18 :), 12 years already on the C-level positions, my own winery, biggest Asian food chain in Georgia, and many other interesting projects. This all is built on several fundamental pillars, one of them being the IMBA at IE.
How did IE helped you to get where you are today?
It gave me the courage, self confidence, ambition and toolset. After IE I unlocked the feeling that I am not a local Georgia-only professional, but I belong anywhere. It is hard to explain this feeling, but I guess this is very characteristic for developing world small countries.
What are the three achievements you are most proud of?
1. Getting selected to the under-16 National Basketball Team.
2. Having 3 kids.
3. Having managed to create the platform by 40 (my career, reputation, credibility) from where I can have impact on my community at length.
What does success look like for you?
Being calm and confident about your long term plans
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