On the back of the PayPal party, we had a great meeting last night at the British Embassy in Vienna, Austria.
It was a lavish affair, with over 100 guests networking and talking with Ambassadors and dignitaries from across the Central & Eastern European area.
The evening was targeted towards financial services organisations, and leading banks from across Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Croatia and more were in attendance, alongside leading consulting firms and solutions providers.
The host for the evening was the British Ambassador, Simon Smith, and the Chairman of the evening was yours truly.
What was this prestigious affair?
Why, the launch of our latest branch of the Financial Services Club for Central & Eastern Europe of course, better known as FSClubCEE.
This new branch of the Club joins our UK and Ireland branches in the latest networking group to be created to expand the knowledge base, networking and general understanding of the future of financial services across the European community.
FSClubCEE is a collaborative project created by a team of partners including Lydia Goutas, Thomas Labenbacher and Selma Prodanovic pictured below being instrumental:
Alongside Otto Danner, another key person who was hiding when I took this photo.
The FSClubCEE was launched amid what many are calling the worst recession in the industry in living memory, with the spectre of deflation on the horizon and more bank and even country collapses throughout 2009.
Is this a good time to launch such a venture?
The audience felt very much so.
After all, what better time to create a networking group in the real-world than in a time of crisis.
But, I asked, is there are crisis in CEE, and this was the theme of the evening.
The evening kicked off with words from our kind host, the Ambassador, and then moved into a discussion with four esteemed panellists, namely:
- Dr.Friedhelm Boshcert, CEO, Volksbank International;
- Josip Protega, President of the Management Board, Hrvatska postbanska banka;
- Dr. Karl Sevelda, Board Member, RZB Group; and
- Dr. Daniel (Danny) Thorniley, Senior Vice President, the Economist Group.
You can read the panel's discussions in-depth, but the crisis is part of the reason for forming an FSClub in CEE at this time, and the 100 or so folks who came to the debate obviously feel that the idea of networking group in the physical world, bonded by a common cause with a shared platform is important.
As a result, I feel confident that our new fledgling group will gain significant focus and traction through this year as we all “Survive 2009”.
We ended the meeting with drinks and buffet,
The currently scheduled CEE meetings include:
- March 19th to 21st: The European Banking Forum, Frankfurt, Germany,
- 29th April: The roles and benefits of the mobile ecosystem for CEE banks, Vienna, Austria
- 8th June: Consolidation of the Banking Indusry in CEE, Vienna
Further meetings are planned for 16th September, 21st October and 25th November.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or a member of the FSClub CEE, UK, Ireland or Europe (all three) just email me.