Board of Directors
Gunilla Almgren (SE)
Gunilla Almgren was appointed as UEAPME President on 28 November 2011. She is an entrepreneur in the sanitary fittings industry, with business contacts all over Europe. She served as Vice-President of the Board of Företagarna, the Swedish Federation of Private Enterprises. She also sits in the Board of several Swedish business-related organisations as well as private companies.
On top of her professional engagements, Ms Almgren has also actively participated in several committees and working groups set up by the European Commission in the past years on issues such as better regulation. Ms Almgren holds a Diploma in Business Administration from the IHM Business School and speaks five official EU languages (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish) in addition to her mother tongue.
Peter Faross was appointed as UEAPME Secretary General by the General Assembly on 29 November 2013, to take office as from January 2014. He studied law and political science and worked for the European Commission for about 30 years. In 1991, he was promoted Head of Sector (Energy and Environment) before becoming Head of Unit in 1993 responsible for the "Functioning of the Internal Market". Subsequent posts until 2008 as Head of Unit included the areas on "General Policy", "General policy and inter-institutional relations", "Economic regulation in air transport", "Services of general economic interest, users’ rights and infringements". Since 2008, Mr Faross was Director of the "Nuclear Safety and Fuel Cycle" Directorate in Luxemburg and acting Deputy Director General for "Nuclear Energy" since 2010.
Policy Vice Presidents
Luca Crosetto (IT)
Member of the National Presidency Committee, Confartigianato
Vice President with mandate for Enterprise Policy
Luca Crosetto is a member of the National Presidency Committee of our Italian member Confartigianato since 2008. He is also a member of the Confartigianato National Executive Committee since 2000, and a Delegate of the Confartigianato National Presidency for Training since 2005.
An entrepreneur in the sector of production, trading and maintenance of agricultural machines, Mr Crosetto is currently in charge of treasury and responsible for the planning and management of corporate finance of the company AGRIMEC Snc. He holds a Bachelor Degree in “Systems of production” from the University of Torino.
Alain Griset (FR)
Chairman, UEAPME Vocational Training Committee
Born in 1953, Alain Griset started his career of craftsman as a taxi driver in Lille in 1975. In 1984, he was elected President of the "Syndicat autonome des artisans taxis" (taxi drivers’ trade union) of the Urban Community of Lille and became President of the "Union départementale des syndicats d’artisans taxis du Nord" (regional union for taxi drivers) in 1992. This very strong engagement with his profession led him to be elected member of the Chambre de Métiers du Nord (Craft Chamber) in 1989, then Secretary of its Board in 1991.
In 1993, he became President of the "Confédération Nationale Artisanale des Métiers de Services" - CNAMS for the Nord/Pas-de-Calais region. In December 1995, he became President of the Chambre de Métiers du Nord, then President of the "Chambre Régionale de Métiers du Nord Pas-de-Calais" from 1996 to 1999. In January 200O, he was elected President of the APCMA (Permanent Assembly of Craft Chambers), a position he has held ever since. Mr Griset is a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.
Otto Kentzler (DE)
Vice President with mandate for Economic and Fiscal Affairs
Otto Kentzler is the President of the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH) since 2005, and a member of its Board of Directors since 1998. He is also the President of the Dortmund Chamber of Skilled Crafts since 1994.
A graduate of the Hannover Technical University, where he gained his engineering diploma, he is also a qualified plumber and gas and water installer. Mr Kentzler is Managing Partner of Kentzler GmbH & Co.KG, a family construction company with more than 100 years of experience in roofs and walls. He is married and has two children.
Pierre Martin (FR)
Vice President, UPA
Chairman, UEAPME Social Affairs Committee
Pierre Martin is a hairdresser in Tonnerre (in the Yonne region) since 1973. He started his career in the crafts associations’ movement in 1982, when he became President of the local and later of the regional Hairdressers’ Federation.
Mr Martin then moved on to work at national and cross-profession level: he became President of the Hairdressers’ Training Association, President of the Council of Regional Hairdressers’ Federations, Vice President and then since 2002 President of the National Hairdressers’ Federation, FNC.
He subsequently served as Member of the Council of CNAMS, the National Confederation of Arts and Crafts, one of the founding members of UPA. CNAMS appointed Mr Martin to the UPA National Council and later as UPA President until January 2010. Mr Martin is Bureau Secretary at the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council. He is also Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.
Ulrike Rabmer-Koller (AT)
Vice President of the Crafts and Trade Division of WKÖ
Chairman, UEAPME Sustainable Development Committee
Ulrike Rabmer-Koller is the owner and General Manager of the company Group Rabmer – an international operating company in the area of buildings, construction, municipal services, green technologies and consulting.
From 1997 to 2005, she was Member of the Municipal Council and Chairperson of the Family and Welfare Committee of Altenberg/Linz. Since 2003, she is Vice-President of the Economic Chamber of Upper Austria and is also Member of the Economic Parliament of the Economic Chamber of Austria. Since 2005, she is Member of the Board and since February 2011 she is Vice-President of the Crafts section of the Economic Chamber of Austria. In 2009, she joined the Board and in March 2010 she was elected as President of the “Women’s Entrepreneurs Organisation” of Upper Austria.
Ms Rabmer-Koller graduated with a Master of Business Administration from the Johannes Kepler University of Linz.
Nicola Rossi (IT)
President, Confesercenti Padova
Vice President for Commerce, Services and Tourism
Nicola Rossi is President of the Padova province branch of our Italian member Confesercenti and sits in the national Presidency Board of the organisation since 1999. He is the manager of Intermedia SRL, a company operating in the media and business communications sector, since 1994, and of New Company, an advertising agency, since 1992.
Mr Rossi sits in the Boards of several associations and companies, including Ente Padova Fiere, the local Fair Board, Interporto Padova, the local intermodal transport agency, and the local Tourist Board. He is also a partner in several business ventures such as Europstand, a company operating in the exhibition installations sector, and Radio Abano Network, a local radio network. He holds a High School Degree and speaks French in addition to his mother tongue Italian.
Mikko Simolinna (FI)
President, Federation of Finnish Enterprises
Vice President with mandate for Legal Affairs
Mikko Simolinna is the founder and owner of the United Software Distributors group. The USD group (www.usd.fi) founded its first company in 1986. The headquarters are in Finland and subsidiaries in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden.
Mikko Simolinna holds the Chairman’s position in all companies of the group. Prior to starting his career as an entrepreneur, he spent altogether 14 years at different positions in IT companies both in Finland and Sweden.
Furthermore, Mr Simolinna serves on the Board of Directors of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, a national organisation of more than 113.000 entrepreneurs. He has also served as an elected official in several public councils. Mr Simolinna has an educational background in studies of Mathematics, Computer Science and Information Technology in Helsinki University (Finland) and Uppsala University (Sweden).
Dimitris Asimakopoulos (GR)
Dimitris Asimakopoulos (Athens, 1952) is the President of the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen and Merchants (GSEVEE) since 2003, as well as of the GSEVEE Small Enterprises Institute (IME GSEVEE).
He is also a member of the General Council of the Bank of Greece, of the Administrative Council of the Athens Chamber of Small and Medium-sized Industries (ACSMI) and of the Economic and Social Committee of Greece.
He holds a Diploma in rural and surveying engineering from the National Technical University of Athens (1974), and an MSc in Hydraulics and Coastal Engineering from Strathclyde University, Great Britain (1978). Since 1980, he runs his own confectionery family business in Athens, founded in 1915.
Jerzy Bartnik (PL)
Jerzy Bartnik is President of the Polish Craft Association (ZRP) and was nominated to the UEAPME Board of Directors in December 2005.
He has a lifelong involvement in the craft sector and has played a strong role in the development of craft associations in Poland. Mr Bartnik has been President of the Chamber of Crafts in Poznan since 1989, having previously been Chairman of the Board (1986-89). He was Chairman of the Board of the Polish Craft Association (1989-93) and was appointed President in 2001.
Having participated in the establishment of regional authorities (the Sejmik) of the Wielkopolska Region, Mr Bartnik was subsequently its Deputy President. He has been Deputy Chairman of the Tripartite Commission for Socio-Economic Affairs since 2001. He is also Chairman of the Poznanski Credit Guarantee Fund and is a former member of the Advisory Board to the Minister of Culture and Art and to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Hans Biesheuvel (NL)
Hans Biesheuvel was born in The Hague in 1965. He grew up in a family business environment in which both his father and grandfather ran a business of their own: a technical wholesaler’s company. After attaining his VWO (pre-university education) diploma, Biesheuvel joined the Ministry of Transport and Public Works and completed his studies at the Institute for Business Administration and Economics in the evenings.
At the end of the 1980s he opted for entrepreneurship and started up his own technical wholesaler’s. Two years later he took over his father’s and grandfather’s companies and created the Biesheuvel Group. Biesheuvel built this company into a leading player in the market with around 180 people on the payroll. In 2000 he sold his company because, as he himself put it, he “couldn’t add anything more”.
In 2001 Biesheuvel set up Habest Holding BV in The Hague. Usually in cooperation with financial parties, the company actively invests in businesses in the SME sector. Biesheuvel primarily concerns himself with management buy-outs and succession issues in family businesses. Biesheuvel is also advisor and supervisory director with various Dutch (SME) companies.
Roland Kuhn (LU)
President, Chambre des Métiers du Luxembourg
Roland Kuhn is the President of the Chamber of Crafts of Luxembourg (CDM) and an entrepreneur leading KUHN SA, a construction company specialised in real estate and building renovation as well as interior and exterior design. In addition to his role as CDM President, Mr Kuhn is also the President of the Luxembourg Federation of Construction Enterprises and Vice-President of the Luxembourg Union of Enterprises (UEL).
Mr Kuhn sits in the Board of a number of business organisations both at national and European level, including for instance the Luxembourg Craftsmen Federation (FDA) and the European Builders Confederation (EBC). A keen musician and scale modelist, Mr Kuhn speaks English, French and German as well as Lëtzebuergesch.
Ovidiu Nicolescu (RO)
Ovidiu Nicolescu is the President of the National Council of Small and Medium Sized Private Enterprises in Romania (CNIPMMR), an accomplished University Professor in Management with over 40 years of academic experience and a well known consultant in Romania. He currently heads several study and training courses for the Ph.D. in Management at the Economic University of Bucharest and has also taught at the Tufts University, the Fairleigh Dickinson University and the Stockholm Business School in the past.
As consultant in his International Institute, Professor Nicolescu has expertise in strategic management, SMEs, in structural funds, feasibility and business plan, human resources management and marketing.
As a researcher, Professor Nicolescu has written more than 80 books and 400 studies and articles so far. Two of his books on enterprise management were honoured with the “Romanian Academy Award for the best economic book published” in 1980 and 1996.
At European Level, Professor Nicolescu is member of the European Social Fund Committee, the Enterprise Policy Group - Business Chamber, the FP7 SME Advisory Group and other bodies.
Jean-François Roubaud (FR)
Jean-François Roubaud is the President of CGPME, the French Confederation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, since October 2002. Prior to that, Mr Roubaud was First Vice-President from May 2002 to October 2002 and Vice-President in charge of Economic and Fiscal Affairs from 2000 to 2002. He has been a Member of the CGPME Board of Directors since 1994, and has served as President of the French Builders Federation (FFB) for the Paris Ile-de-France region and as Vice-President of the national FFB from 2002 to 2005.
A Member of the French Social and Economic Committee, Mr Roubaud also sits in several Boards and Committees. He is Officer of the National Order of Merit and Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. Mr Roubaud holds a Vocational Training Certificate in Climatic Engineering (1965/1967) and a Diploma from the Institut Contrôle de Gestion (“Leonard de Vinci” term, 1980/1982). His family business, Simonet Rungis, is active in the cooling industry field.
Jim Stjerne Hansen (DK)
Vice President of Håndværksrådet
Jim Stjerne Hansen is Vice President of Håndværksrådet, The Danish Federation of SMEs with approx. 20.000 members operating in many different sectors such as construction, auto repair, heating and plumbing, hair dressing, landscaping, lock smiths and other skilled craft and service sectors.
He is also the Managing Director of Stjerne Service and President of DS Trade & Industry, the Danish employers’ and industrial association for small and medium-sized enterprises operating in a variety of sectors such as manufacturing, smithery, crafts, plumbing, heating and sanitation.
Jesús Maria Terciado Valls (ES)
Mr Terciado was appointed as President of our Spanish member organisation CEPYME in June 2010. He serves as Vice President of CEOE, the Spanish Confederation of Employers’ Organisations, and as President of the Confederation of Employers’ Organisations for the province of Castilla y Léon and for the City of Ávila.
Mr Terciado is Vice President of the Economic and Social Committee of Castilla y Léon and a member of the Social Dialogue Council in the same region. In the past, he has also served as President in various local and sectoral employers’ organisations. He holds a degree in engineering.
Karel Van Eetvelt (BE)
Managing Director, UNIZO
Karel Van Eetvelt was born in 1966. After completing his secondary education at the Don Bosco College in Zwijnaarde, he graduated at the Catholic University of Leuven.
Mr Van Eetvelt started his professional career as Adviser in the Belgian Union of SME building companies, Bouwunie, formerly Nacebo. He then covered subsequently the posts of Secretary General and Managing Director in the same organisation.
In 2004, he became Managing Director of UNIZO, the Flemish organisation for SMEs and self-employed people. Karel Van Eetvelt currently holds mandates in several Boards and Advisory Committees at Flemish, Federal and European level.
János Vértes (HU)
Vice President, International Affairs, KISOSZ
János Vértes is Vice President responsible for International Affairs at the Hungarian SME organisation KISOSZ, a position he holds since 2001. A graduated engineer at the Miskolc University of Technology with an MBA from Buckingamshire Higher Education in the United Kingdom, Mr Vértes worked for almost 30 years at MALEV Hungarian Airlines. Starting in operations, he then moved to executive positions both in Hungary and abroad before leaving MALEV in 2001.
Since 2001, Mr Vértes has been Tourism Director at the Hungarian Post Plc. Group, then CEO in one of the largest Hungarian daily newspapers and Director of Commerce and Sales at the Budapest Airport. He is currently Route Development Director at FlyBalaton Airport.
An expert of social dialogue, employment and competitiveness, Mr Vértes is a member of the European Economic and Social Committee since 2004 and a member of its Bureau since 2006.
Alessia Zaninello (IT)
Member of the Presidency Board, CNA
Alessia Zaninello is a qualified beautician and an entrepreneur in the cosmetics sector, active since 1989 in Veneto and now leading two beauty salons in the region. In 1997 she joined CNA as President of the Women Entrepreneurs office in the local branch. She subsequently held charges at province and region level.
In 2005, Ms Zaninello was elected Vice President in the national CNA Presidency Board, a position she holds ever since. Ms Zaninello is also a member of the Boards of the Rovigo Chamber of Commerce and of Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo SPA.