Since earning his MBA degree from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University, Vladimer “Lado” Gurgenidze has charted a remarkable career, from successful career banker to political leader, from Georgia to…well, Georgia.
From Georgia to Georgia
Born in December 1970 in Tbilisi, Georgia, Gurgenidze’s undergraduate studies took him from Tbilisi State University all the way to Middlebury College in Vermont. After receiving his degree in 1993, Gurgenidze chose to continue his education by attending the MBA program at the Goizueta Business School of Emory College in Georgia.
Making an Impact at the Bank of Georgia
Following a decade of work in investment banks throughout London and Eastern Europe, Gurgenidze returned home to his native Georgia. His return shortly followed the Rose Revolution of November 2003, which marked a peaceful change of power in the country that ended Soviet leadership in Georgia. With his skill and experience, Gurgenidze was able to, as Executive Chairman and CEO of the Bank of Georgia, positively effect economic growth during a period of significant change for the country.
Within just three years, the Bank of Georgia’s market share grew from 18% to 34%, becoming the leading universal bank in the region. Under Gurgenidze’s leadership, the Bank of Georgia became the first Georgian entity to list shares on the London Stock Exchange, and was named Best Bank in Georgia two years in a row by The Banker.
Gurgenidze Enters the Political Arena
Due to his remarkable success with the Bank of Georgia and in the decade prior, Gurgenidze soon found himself taking on new and unexpected challenges in the political sphere. However, he would never forget the impact of his Goizueta education. Reflecting on his MBA experience, Gurgenidze thanked Goizueta for his ability to “think in terms of certain categories, such as shareholder value and opportunity cost.” One course in particular sticks out in his mind: Jeffrey Rosensweig’s “Global Perspectives”. “It was helpful to observe a large group of people trying to deal with important issues on a global scale,” he said of the course.
His ability to tackle global issues became more important than ever in November of 2007, when Gurgenidze was appointed as the Prime Minister of his native Georgia. Although he only served a one-year term, Gurgenidze is remembered for effecting change that transformed Georgia into a center of regional trade and finance.
Gurgenidze’s time in office was not without conflict. Georgia entered into an armed conflict with Russia in August of 2008. Nonetheless, Gurgenidze played a important role in rebuilding the country after the conflict, obtaining a standby loan facility of $750 USD from the International Monetary Fund.
In October of 2008, Gurgenidze was awarded the Victory Order of St. George, a governmental honor second in rank only to the Order of National Hero.
Life after Politics
In September of 2009, Gurgenidze and Romanian businessman Dinu Patriciu established Liberty Investments, an investment company which focused on financial services institutions in markets with low corruption, open economies, and low taxes.
Shortly after establishment, the company announced acquisition of Liberty Bank, which returned to profitability shortly after in Q1 2010, achieving a faster growth rate than the rest of the Georgian Banking sector.
In addition to his work with Liberty Investments, Gurgenidze was a frequent speaker on issues of free-market reforms and economic liberty in developing countries. Beginning in April of 2009, Gurgenidze took on the role of co-chair for the Emory Center for Alternative Investments, a part of the Goizueta Business School that aims to provide independent research to the Alternative Investments Industry.
Later that year, Gurgenidze was appointed as Chairman of the Supervisory Board for the Bank of Kigali, the largest bank in Rwanda.
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