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Speaker Biographies

Speaker Biographies

Diego Canga Fano

Diego Canga Fano

Head of Cabinet, VP Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, European Commission


Born: Oviedo, Spain on December, 25, 1964. Married (three daughters)

1988 Certificate in English Law, Cambridge University (UK)

1987-1988 Special Law Degree in European Affairs, Université Libre de Bruxelles

1982-1987 Law Degree, University of Oviedo (Spain) CAREER
Since 1st of March 2012 Head of Cabinet of the Cabinet of Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission Responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship

2008 Deputy Head of the Cabinet of Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission Responsible for Transport

Chairman of the Selection Board of Open Competitions EPSO AD 46/47/06 

Administrators (AD 5) of Romanian and Bulgarian citizenship in the field of Law 
(2700 applicants)

Agent for the Council before the European Court of Justice and the Court of First 
Instance in Luxembourg

Since October 2003 Principal Administrator in the Legal Service of the Council in the sector of external relations and since October 2007 in charge of Enlargement, Energy, Consumer Protection and Public Health.

1999- 2003 Detached to the Cabinet of Vice-President Loyola de Palacio in the European Commission as legal advisor (Transport, Energy and European Parliament), in charge notably of State aid cases (Ryanair, Sabena, Alitalia, the post 11 September Cases etc) and Competition, infringement proceedings against the Member States in the field of transport and energy, relations with the Ombudsman, follow-up of the codecision procedure etc

1994-1999 Principal Administrator in the Legal Service of the Council, first in charge of institutional and staff matters and then from January 1996 assistant to the Director- General of the Council Legal Service, following notably Coreper II work and the IGC which lead to the Amsterdam Treaty.

1991-1994 Administrator in the General Secretariat of the Council (DG G Social Policy)

Since September 1991 Community official in Brussels

1989-1991 Lawyer in Arthur Andersen, Madrid (Spain) dealing notably with international taxation and company law

1988-1989 Assistant Professor on Public International Law, University of Oviedo (Spain) Author of several publications in European affairs

Marina Yannakoudakis

Marina Yannakoudakis

Member, European Parliament


ENVI Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
FEMM Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality
D-MK Delegation to the EU-Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Joint Parliamentary Committee

CRIM Special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering
DSEE Delegation for relations with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo
Curriculum vitae (The MEP is solely responsible for the information published)

B.Sc. (Hons.) in Government, Politics and Modern History (1979). Diploma in Administrative Management (Distinction) (1980). MA in Education (2002). Financial director of a travel company (1984-2008).

Chairman, Oakleigh Branch of the Conservative Party (2002). Deputy Chairman of Chipping Barnet Conservative Association (2005-2008).

Councillor, London Borough of Barnet (2006-2010).

Marko Curavic

Marko Curavic

Head of Unit 'Entrepreneurship', DG Enterprise and Industry, European Commission


Marko Curavić has been since May 2009 the Head of the Unit "Entrepreneurship" in DG Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission. As such he has been engaged in the deregulation of start-up and bankruptcy procedures in the EU Member States, the establishment of the entrepreneurs’ European exchange programme Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, the promotion of entrepreneurial education and the support of female entrepreneurs. Currently, his Unit is working on the Entrepreneurship2020 Action Plan, a EU initiative to boost entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial culture in Europe.
Before joining the European Commission, Marko worked inter alia for the International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group) in Istanbul/Turkey, T-Croatian Telecommunications (Deutsche Telekom Group) in Zagreb / Croatia and with McKinsey & Company, in Munich / Germany. His main areas of professional interest are entrepreneurship, venture financing, management and development economics. Marko holds a degree in business administration from the Freie Universität Berlin and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.

Andrea Gerosa

Andrea Gerosa

Founder, ThinkYoung


Andrea Gerosa is the founder of the Geneva based real estate firm Kefren Sarl (

Alongside some friends, he also founded in Brussels the not-for-profit ThinkYoung (, the first think-tank made only by young people for young people.

Together with Google Inc., he set up the Entrepreneurship Summer School (

Andrea is former President of JADE, the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises (, the world second biggest student organization and former consultant at Oracle Corporation (

Graduated in business administration, he is an alumnus of Bocconi University and the London Business School.

Andrea speaks fluently four languages and is studying the fifth one, arabic, with very poor results.

Passionate about football and sailing, he loves to spend weekends at the lake Como, where he was born in 1982.

Michael Meissner

Michael Meissner

Vice President, Corporate Affairs Europe, Amway


Michael Meissner joined Amway as Vice President Corporate Affairs Europe in 2010. He is responsible for Corporate Communications, Government and Public Affairs and CSR in Europe.

Mr Meissner looks back on more than 20 years of experience in communications. His career includes:
· Head of External Affairs and chief representative of Diehl Stiftung & Co. KG from 2007-2009.
· 2003-2007: Vice President and Head of Communications and External Relations, later Head of Central Marketing and Sales Support at EADS’ Defence & Security Division
· 1999-2003: Head of Government and Economic Relations, Audi AG
· 1995-1999: PR Manager, VIAG AG
· 1988-1995: German armed forces (Deutsche Bundeswehr), Commanding officer in various positions
· 1985-1988: Study at the German armed forces University

Philippe Vanrie

Philippe Vanrie

CEO, European Business and Innovation Centres Network (EBN)


Philippe Vanrie is since 1999 the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of EBN, the leading pan-European Network bringing together 200+ accredited Business & Innovation Centres (BICs), Innovation-based Incubators, and Entrepreneurship Centres across Europe and beyond.

Philippe was instrumental in developing this unique community gathering thousands of smart innovators and entrepreneurs. A recognized expert and experienced speaker in innovation and incubation, Philippe has developed strong relationship and several collaborative projects with the European Commission (EC), the European Space Agency (ESA), and a series of national & regional Governmental Agencies.

Graduated from the Gembloux (Belgium) Agronomic Engineering University, and from the University of Louvain (Belgium) in Innovation Management, Philippe started his career as statistician at the University of Brussels (ULB) and then joined the first European EC-BIC (Business and Innovation Centre) in Liège.

Afterwards, he joined the private sector where he had senior Marketing and Business Development responsibilities within several SMEs leaders of their market, notably in Agro and Food Industry.

During the last couple of years, Philippe initiated and conducted several partnerships between EBN small business incubation centres and several industry leaders such as BT, Procter & Gamble, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, and Auchan. He also conducted pilot-schemes in the field of academic and industrial spin-off, clustering, international business cooperation, local economic development and technology transfer.

Philippe has also served as an Advisory Board Member of the H-P Micro-Enterprise Acceleration Institute (MEA-I), the European Centre for Innovation in Geo-spatial and Location-Based Service, the European Region Research and Innovation Network (ERRIN), the International Network for SMEs (INSME), the Europa InterCluster Network, and has been chairing in 2010 the Jury of the “Young European hopes of innovation”.

Pablo Zalba Bidegain

Pablo Zalba Bidegain

Member, European Parliament


• Executive MBA Specialization in Strategy and Finance
• BSc Business Management
1996-1997 - LEICESTER UNIVERSITY Leicester, UK
• Economics Studies inside the Erasmus Programme

Professional Experience
2009-Ongoing, MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, Brussels/Strasbourg
• Vice-President
 Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
 Youth Inter-group

• Member
 Delegation for Relations with the People's Republic of China
 Parliamentary Delegation EU-Cariforum
 Inter-group " "Ways of Saint James"

• Coordinator
 Young Members Network

• Substitute
 Committee on International Trade
 Special Committee on the Economic and Financial Crisis
 Inter-parliamentary Delegation EU-Chile

2004-2009, SIC LÁZARO, Pamplona
• Director of Sales and Business Development

1998-2005, ARCELOR MITTAL, Pamplona/Madrid
• Head of International Business Development, Construction Unit

• ENGLISH: excellent, spoken and written
• FRENCH: good, spoken and written

Ben Butters

Ben Butters

Director of EU Affairs, Eurochambres


Ben Butters has been the Director of EU Affairs for EUROCHAMBRES, the European association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, since 2008. As such, he covers a wide range of policy issues at EU level that are of relevance to the Chambers and the European business community, including education & training, energy, the internal market, enterprise, regulatory and economic reform and innovation.

Having graduated in Business & French and worked in international publishing, Ben completed a Masters degree in European Politics before moving to Brussels in the mid-nineties to undertake a traineeship in the European Commission. He was subsequently researcher to a Member of the European Parliament and project manager for a European business/innovation support network. Immediately prior to joining EUROCHAMBRES, Ben was the founding director of an organization delivering EU advocacy services to UK business organisations.

Cheryl Miller

Cheryl Miller

Founder, Zen Digital Europe &


Cheryl Miller, founder of Zen Digital Europe and, is a recognized digital social entrepreneur with twenty years of international experience in the tech and ICT sectors.

Cheryl's work to promote science and technology to women and girls has been recognized by the United Nations and the European Commission, and she is consulted worldwide as an expert and speaker on topics related to digital inclusion, digital literacy, gender equality, youth and female leadership, and entrepreneurship, especially in STEM fields.

In 2008, Cheryl founded Zen Digital Europe, a sustainability consultancy addressing gender equality and climate change, and promoting ICT and digital media to achieve the Europe 2020 vision.

Cheryl is a founding boardmember of, and held the positions of Technology Chair & European Director from April 2010 to November 2012.

Since 2011, Zen Digital Europe is the Belgian contact point for the European Centre for Women and Technology.

Cheryl is also member of the Strategic Committe for Female Board Pool Belgium.

Initiatives of Zen Digital Europe include:
+ - Promoting the contribution of women to achieving the Europe 2020 vision.
+ - A global volunteer network inspiring girls to take up STEM studies & careers.
+ - Improving STEM knowlege & digital skills among girls through creative enterprise.
+ - Promoting women and smart, sustainable & inclusive growth in Europe, by all media necessary.

Andrew Fielding

Andrew Fielding

Research Fellow, Bruegel


Andrew Fielding has over 30 years’ experience of the EU as a European Commission official, corporate adviser and with Bruegel, the leading economics think tank. At the Commission, he worked most recently on the single market and labour law at BEPA, the president's in-house think tank. He was educated at Cambridge University and was a Visiting Fellow in EU law at the London School of Economics in 2006-2008.



Wednesday 5 December, 2012
08.30 to 13.35




Stanhope Hotel, Brussels

Rue du Commerce 9
B-1000 Brussels

Tel: +32 2 506 91 11

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