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Speaker Biographies

Full speaker biographies will appear here shortly, please check back regularly for updates.


Régis Degelcke

Régis Degelcke

President, EuroCommerce


Régis Degelcke currently is Chairman of the two companies, Auchan Retail and Auchan Holding, to which he was appointed to by the Mulliez family in early 2017. Régis began his career in retail 35 years ago as a financial controller at Leroy Merlin, and was appointed CFO of the group at the early age of 29. Six years later, keen to have hands-on store experience, he left headquarters to become a store manager in Spain. Later, under his leadership as country manager for France, Leroy Merlin grew significantly to become the leading home improvement retailer. Régis is a true global citizen, and went on to lead the international expansion of the LeroyMerlin/Adeo Group: as Executive VicePresident, he led on overall group strategy and expansion in Italy and in Brazil. For a period, he also headed relations with professional customers of the group, which provided him with profound insights into the world of wholesale.

Régis is very much a team player, and has advocated a collegial approach within the retail and wholesale sector. For the last 10 years, he has chaired the European DIY Retail Association (EDRA), having previously headed the French DIY association, FMB.

Régis has a business degree and an MSc in international finance from ESC Lille School of Management (now SKEMA Business School), which he obtained in 1982. He is married, with three children. When off-duty, he spends time cooking, gardening and mastering photography

Jyrki Katainen

Jyrki Katainen

Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, European Commission


Jyrki Katainen is Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.

Prior to this term, he was European Commission Vice-President for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the euro from July to October 2014. Before that he served as Prime Minister of Finland (2011– 2014) and Minister of Finance (2007 – 2011). He was Member of Finnish Parliament (1999 – 2014) for the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus).
Jyrki Katainen is Vice-President of the European People's Party (2006-2011, 2015-) and he was Chairman of the National Coalition Party of Finland from 2004 to 2014.
He was Member of the Finnish Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly 2003 - 2007, Member of the Administrative Council of the Finnish Broadcasting Company 2003 - 2005, Member of the Finish Delegation to the Western European Union Parliamentary Assembly 2004 - 2005 and the Deputy Member of the Finnish Delegation to the Nordic Council 2001 -2003.

Jyrki Katainen has MSc in Political Science from the University of Tampere, Finland (1998) and he did an Erasmus exchange year at the University of Leicester, UK. His hobbies are running, cycling, cooking and tennis.

Elżbieta Bieńkowska

Elżbieta Bieńkowska

Commissioner, Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission


In her current role, one of Elżbieta Bieńkowska’s responsibilities is to bring industry's weight in the EU's GDP back to 20% by 2020, from less than 16% today, by stimulating investment in new technologies, improving the business environment and easing access to markets and to finance. She is also working on renewing the strategy for completing the single market for goods and services, including extending the list of products to be recognised in all EU countries and eliminating remaining obstacles as well as identifying new sources for jobs and growth.

Prior to her appointment as EU Commissioner, she served in the Polish Government as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Development from 2013-14, Minister of Regional Development from 2007-13 and Director of the Regional Development Office in Marshal's Office of Silesia Region from 1999-2007. She earned her Post-graduate diploma from the Polish National School of Public Administration and Master's degree in oriental philology from Jagiellonian University where she attended from 1982-88.

Monique  Goyens

Monique Goyens

Director General, BEUC


As Director General of BEUC, Monique represents 43 independent national consumer associations in 32 European countries, acting as a strong consumer voice in Brussels, ensuring that consumer interests are given weight in the development of policies and raising the visibility and effectiveness of the consumer movement through lobbying EU institutions and media contacts.

As a consumer expert and advocate, and on behalf of BEUC, she is currently member of the EU High Level Forum for a Better Functioning Food Supply Chain and a delegate in the Consultative Commission on Industrial Change of the European Economic and Social Committee. She is an effective member of the Euro Retail Payments Board. She has also been appointed to the expert group on “fake news” (2018) and in the expert group on “trade agreements” (2018-2019). She is member of the Advisory Group of Transparency International EU and of the European Advisory Board of the Open Society Foundations.

In her capacity as BEUC Director General, Monique is currently EU co-chair of the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) a network of EU and US consumer organisations, and she also represents BEUC at Consumers International, the international consumer organisation.

Apart from championing consumer’ rights, Monique’s passions/challenges are her family, cooking for friends and long walks with her golden retriever.

Věra Jourová

Věra Jourová

Commissioner Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, European Commission


Ms Věra Jourová is currently European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.

In 2014, before coming to the European Commission, Ms Jourová held the position of Minister for Regional Development in the Czech Republic. Previous to this, from 2006 to 2013, she worked in her own company as an international consultant on European Union funding, and also was involved in consultancy activities in the Western Balkans relating to the European Union Accession. In 2003 Ms. Jourová was appointed Deputy Minister for Regional Development, a position which she held for three years. Previously she worked as Head of the Department of Regional Development in the Vysočina Region, from 2001, and before that as Secretary and Spokesperson of the Třebič Municipal Office, from 1995 to 2001.

Ms Jourová holds a Degree in Law (Mgr.) from the Charles University, Prague and a Master's degree (Mgr.) in the Theory of Culture from the Charles University, Prague.

Anneleen  van Bossuyt

Anneleen van Bossuyt

MEP, European Parliament


Anneleen Van Bossuyt was elected to become a Member of the European Parliament in the beginning of 2015, but she has long been engaged with and involved in European politics and policy. As a member of the European Parliament, she uses her expertise to help realise the necessary changes in the European Union.

Anneleen grew up in Ghent, Belgium. After finishing secondary school, she studied law at the University of Ghent (2003) and European law at the University of Rennes in France (2004). Following her studies in France, she began work as an assistant at the European Institute of the Faculty of Law at Ghent University. In 2010, she moved to the N-VA’s research department, where she was responsible for European affairs. In this role Anneleen was very closely involved in the federal government negotiations in 2014.

Since her election to the European Parliament, Anneleen has served as a member of the committee for Internal Market and Consumer Protection and of the committee for Industry, Research and Energy. Anneleen’s focus has been on better regulation, encouraging entrepreneurship, the digital single market, supporting innovation and energy policy. Earlier this year, an analysis conducted by VoteWatch (an independent non-profit organisation), showed that Anneleen is the most influential Belgian MEP as regards European digital and telecoms policy. In June 2017, Anneleen was elected as chair of the IMCO-committee.

Holger Bingmann

Holger Bingmann

President, BGA (Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services)


Holger Bingmann was born on the 8th of July 1961 in Stuttgart. He completed his studies in business administration at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich as a business graduate. This was followed by PhD in economis in economics at the Academy of Sciences, FU Berlin. From 1987 – 1989 he worked for Daimler Benz AG in Brussels, from 1990 - 2000 he was Managing Partner at the Süddeutsche Zeitungszentrale Presse-Grosso GmbH in Stuttgart. Since 2001 he is Managing Partner of the MELO Group in Munich. Further entrepreneurial activities are the Media Carrier GmbH, the Blogfabrik GmbH & Co KG in Berlin and the Media Carrier INC in New York/Dubai.

Since 2016 Holger Bingmann is a member the executive committee of the Federal Association of Wholesale, Foreign Trade, Services e.V. (BGA) and was voted for president on 26nd of September 2017.

Futhermore he has several advisory board functions on the topics of cultural and digital change in companies.

Suzan Kereere

Suzan Kereere

Global Head of Merchant Sales & Acquiring, VISA


Suzan heads the Global Merchant Sales & Acquiring organization at Visa. She is responsible for helping Visa’s merchant and acquiring clients grow by being their preferred partner to enable secure, digital commerce for current and future generations of buyers and sellers. Suzan’s remit spans Visa’s merchant acquiring partners around the world, giving her a truly global view of the business and her team.

Suzan has built her career in the Payments industry across a spectrum of disciplines including finance, global operations, servicing and business development. She has managed both business-to-business and consumer segments to drive topline growth and profitability. She has also lead global businesses & teams in Europe, Australia, Asia & North America. She has brought her passion for people and cultivating diverse talent to all her positions.

Her track record as a business leader is reflected in the breadth of her roles. At American Express, she managed relationships with Fortune 100 merchants where she negotiated complex commercial agreements that launched innovative technologies including reward points as currency and multi-billion dollar business-to-business growth partnerships. As the head of the Global Network organization, she also led the strategy & execution of their migration to EMV and launch of contactless payments. Most recently, Suzan led the Europe Merchant Sales & Acquiring team at Visa where she was responsible for the growth strategies and innovation with Europe’s top merchants and acquirers.

Suzan holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA in Economics from Tufts University. She serves as a non-executive Director on the board of Grange Insurance Company, a Columbus, OH based Mutual company. Suzan has also served on the board of several non-profits, including the National Retail Federation Foundation, the US Travel Association, the American Red Cross (NY Chapter) and the Zawadi Africa Educational Fund.

Suzan lives in London with her husband and two daughters.

Laurent Vallée

Laurent Vallée

General Secretary, Carrefour


Laurent Vallée is a graduate of ESSEC Business School, Institut d’études politiques de Paris and École Nationale de l’Administration (ENA).

He began his career at the Conseil d’État, France’s administrative Supreme Court, where he served in particular as Government Commissioner and Constitutional Advisor to the Government’s Secretary General. From 2008 to 2010, Laurent Vallée was a lawyer with the Clifford Chance law firm, before being appointed Director of Civil Affairs at the Ministry of Justice in April 2010. He was then General Corporate Secretary of the Canal+ Group from 2013 to 2015. Since March 2015, he has served as Secretary General of the Conseil Constitutionnel, France’s constitutional council.

On August 30, 2017, Laurent Vallée joined the Executive Management team as General Secretary of the Carrefour group.

Christopher Burns

Christopher Burns

Journalist/Moderator , Burnstorm Communications


Chris Burns is a Franco-American journalist and media expert with 30 years' reporting experience in Europe, the U.S., Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East. He's covered armed conflicts, election battles, financial crises, natural and human disasters as well as film festivals. He was host of the talk show “The Network” on Euronews and a Bloomberg TV reporter based in Brussels and Berlin. He was a CNN correspondent based in Germany and the White House, and reported for the Associated Press from Paris, New York and Nashville. He's also a media consultant, media trainer and video producer, and has moderated panels including for the World Economic Forum, OECD, OSCE, United Nations, World Bank and EU institutions. He graduated in political economy at the University of California, Berkeley, and did post-grad studies in Europe. Chris speaks five languages and has dual US-French nationality.

Birgit Winn

Birgit Winn

Head of Digital Projects, Hospitality Digital


Birgit Winn joined METRO in 2011 and took over the position as Head of Digital Projects at Hospitality Digital in January 2018. Before, she held several positions at METRO AG, as Lead Forensic Investigator, Head of Finance Audit and then took over the role of Head of Compliance and Compliance Officer of METRO AG. Before joining METRO, she worked 4 years with Deloitte as a senior consultant.

Birgit is an admitted attorney and studied law at the Universities of Trier, Ferrara (Italy) and Bonn, where she took her first state exam. She completed her second state exam 2006 in Düsseldorf

Anke Pollmann

Anke Pollmann

Entrepreneur, Pollmann


Foundation: Founded in 1890 by Bernhard Pollmann. Over the years, the business has developed from a classic tableware shop to a store with a contemporary concept where cooking, dining and experience are written in capital letters. They are now also an omnichannel organisation. 'Pollmann sinds 1890' is a family business for creating great home- cooked meals. Anke Pollmann and her husband Nick are the fourth generation working in this company and they welcome you to their spectacular store. Together with their team, they are pleased to give advice and service, and to inspire customers with a free drink. Customers can try, compare, and sample the products. They also run a webshop (, which has been going since 2001. Chatting with a staff member from the comfort of your home, shopping, and having the goods home-delivered - it can all be done. The combination of the largest tableware and cutlery collection of the Netherlands, the webshop and the store in Arnhem, has made 'Pollmann 1890' the place of choice for many customers from all over the country!

In 2016, 'Pollmann sinds 1890' moved to the Arnhem "7 Straatjes" shopping area, transforming their former warehouse into a store with a fantastic appearance: raw, authentic and industrial, with respect for the company's history. One word says it all: wow! Everything is right about this business: the modern way of marketing, the clear choice for an omnichannel strategy and the social relevance. At a time when many shops struggle to survive, 'Pollmann sinds 1890' is a luminous example of how to turn a future-proof idea for home cooking into a wonderful experience!

Wolfgang Maehr

Wolfgang Maehr

CEO Alliance Healthcare Germany, Walgreens Boots Alliance


Born in Vienna, he gained several years of experience in his profession after completing his pharmaceutical studies and worked as a pharmacy manager. Then he moved to Herba-Chemosan AG, where his last position was Chairman of the Management Board, where he managed the business.

Following the takeover of Herba-Chemosan by Celesio AG, Wolfgang Mähr was appointed CEO of the German wholesaler GEHE in 2001. From 2006 to 2012 he was a member of Celesio's management board. In January 2013 he moved to Alliance Healthcare, Pharmaceutical Wholesale Division of Alliance Boots as Regional Managing Director and was a member of the Alliance Healthcare Deutschland Supervisory Board.

In March 2015 Wolfgang Mähr started his consulting activities and continued to work for the group. In August 2016, he was appointed to the Management Board by the Supervisory Board for a transitional period.

Since March 2017 he has been Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Alliance Healthcare and is now returning to the Management Board.

Xavier  Garambois

Xavier Garambois



Xavier Garambois is the Vice President for Amazon's European consumer business. Xavier has been with Amazon for sixteen years, including more than eight years as country manager for France and five years in his current role. Before Amazon, Xavier worked in another ecommerce business, Wine and Co and began his career with Paribas in China. Xavier grew up near Grenoble and graduated from ESCP Europe.

Catherine Pardo

Catherine Pardo

Professor, EMLYON Business School


Catherine Pardo is professor of business-to-business marketing at emlyon Business School. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Burgundy, and an Accreditation to supervise research in Management Science from the University of Montpellier. She teaches business-to-business marketing. She holds the CGI / EMLYON Research Chair in BtoB Intermediation. Her work has been published in several international reviews such as Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, European Journal of Marketing, and she has presented the results of her research at different conferences in France and Europe. Her main research interests are on business to business marketing in general and more specifically on key account management and B2B distribution.

Dominique  Michel

Dominique Michel



Dominique Michel has been at the head of the trade federation Comeos for ten years now. Trade is the biggest private employer in Belgium, and with 400,000 employees, it represents 11% of GDP. He is also Vice-President of the European trade association EuroCommerce. Before this he worked internationally at the United Nations in New York and at the International Labour Organization in Geneva. He also led various missions for the EU in order to support employer organisations in developing countries.

Christian Verschueren

Christian Verschueren

Director- General, EuroCommerce


Dr. Verschueren has been Director-General of EuroCommerce since July 2011. In this function, he is the chief spokesperson for the retail and wholesale sector. As head of a team of 20 professionals making up the EuroCommerce secretariat, he leads and coordinates major advocacy and communication activities at the EU level.

Before joining EuroCommerce, Christian Verschueren led ACE, the alliance for the beverage carton industry. Between 2000 and 2007, he was Director-General of CropLife International, the global federation of the plant science industry. Prior to that, he occupied various management and leadership positions in FEDESA and COMISA (now IFAH–Europe and IFAH), the European and global associations for the veterinary pharmaceutical industry.

Dr. Verschueren graduated as doctor of veterinary medicine at the University of Liège, Belgium. He also qualified as veterinarian-specialist in internal medicine and for companion animals. He holds a PhD from the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Dr. Verschueren is a guest lecturer at HEC Paris. He is also an ambassador of WWF Belgium, a Board member at Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (Veterinarians without Borders), a development NGO and at Natagora, a nature conservancy organisation.

Leonor  Sottomayor

Leonor Sottomayor

Head of Public Affairs, Sonae


Leonor Sottomayor is head of Public Affairs of Sonae since 2015. She is on the Board of Directors of various trade associations, including EuroCommerce and the Portuguese Business Confederation. She previously worked in EU affairs for the sugar industry.

Leonor has a degree in Foreign Languages Applied to International Corporations from the Portuguese Catholic University, and a master degree in International Politics from the Centre d’Etudes des Relations Internationales et Strategiques, Brussels.

Leonor lives in Porto - Portugal, with her husband and three sons.

Eva Maydell

Eva Maydell

Member of the European Parliament, European Parliament


Eva Maydell (née Paunova) is a Member of the European Parliament and President of European Movement International, the largest organisation of associations and civil societies in Europe. She is co-founder of Education Bulgaria 2030 and initiator of #Regulation4Innovation series.

Maydell's work focuses on advancing digital skills-creation and the use of innovation and new technology, and supporting entrepreneurs and investment in Europe. In the European Parliament, she is a member of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee and the key Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, as well as being widely recognised as an expert on the Digital Single Market – in areas such as privacy regulation, digital content, digitising industry and cloud computing. She was also the EPP Group's rapporteur on the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the New Skills Agenda and the FinTech report.

Eva has been awarded the European Parliament's MEP of the Year Award twice. She has also been included in FT's own 'New Europe 100' ranking of CEE's emerging changemakers, European Forbes' 30 Under 30 list, and is one of Politico's 'most eye-catching 28 people from 28 countries who are shaping, shaking and stirring Europe'.

Currently Eva Maydell is a rapporteur for Charges on cross-border payments in the Union and currency conversion charges.



Tuesday 27 November, 2018
09.00 to 17.30




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