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Our people

Client engagements are led by senior advisors who are former senior executives of financial institutions, international organisations, multinational corporations, large accountancy firms and consultancies.

Throughout our client engagements, these senior advisors take a hands-on role, which is significantly more intensive than the consulting industry standard. They are backed by an experienced analyst team.

Stilpon Nestor
Managing Director and Senior Advisor
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Stilpon is the founder of Nestor Advisors. In his role as Managing Director and Senior Advisor, he has advised the boards of some of the largest companies and financial institutions in the EU and emerging markets in Europe, Asia and the Middle-East across a variety of sectors, as well as IFIs including the World Bank/IFC, the EBRD and FMO.

Until March 2002, Stilpon was the Head of the Corporate Affairs Division at the OECD, leading the team which produced the global corporate governance benchmark, the OECD Principles of Corporate Governance.

Stilpon is a non-executive director of the Arabian Construction Company, one of the largest contractors in the Gulf. He was a director and member of the risk committee of the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg (2009-2013), a member of the EU Commission’s Advisory Board on Company Law and Corporate Governance (2007-2011) and a member of the board of the International Corporate Governance Network (2004-2007).

A regular public speaker on governance, Stilpon has participated in events organized by, among others, the Institute of International Finance, the European Securities Market Authority and the UK Financial Services Authority. He was the principal drafter of the Hellenic Corporate Governance Code and, since 2012, a member of the Hellenic Corporate Governance Council which oversees its implementation.

Stilpon has a legal background and practiced corporate law early in his career. He holds an LL.B from the University of Thessaloniki Law School and an LL.M from Harvard Law School (1983).

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Chris Barrett
Senior Advisor
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Chris joined Nestor Advisors as a senior advisor in 2012. He has broad experience, leading engagements in the banking, insurance, shipping and education sectors.

He specialises in risk governance in the financial services sector and has a long-standing interest in the risk and governance challenges facing financial services companies operating in emerging markets. He is currently advising an established insurer in the United Arab Emirates and a new entrant to the Russian insurance market.

Until December 2011 Chris was a partner with PwC responsible for the Financial Services Advisory practice in the 29 countries of Central and Eastern Europe, based first in Moscow and then in Prague. His clients included leading local and international banks and insurers as well as IFIs such as the EBRD and World Bank. His work ranged from strategy and operations to governance, risk and compliance. He helped local clients develop governance structures which would meet the expectations of international investors and supported international groups as they adapted their policies, procedures and systems to the specifics of the local regulatory environment.

Before he moved to Moscow in 2004 Chris built PwC’s successful Forensic Services practice in Paris, where he specialised in operational risk work for financial institutions and corporates and the investigation of fraud and other irregularities. Previously Chris spent nearly 20 years (10 as managing director) with WBK International, a specialist risk management consultancy working with financial lines underwriters in London and around the world. Before that he worked as an insurance broker in London and as a broker and underwriter in the Middle East.

Chris is a graduate of Cambridge University and holds a MBA from Kingston University. He is a native English speaker and also speaks fluent French, good German and intermediate Russian. Chris is a frequent speaker at insurance and risk management conferences and is a regular contributor to 'Finance' magazine in Moscow.

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Chris Hodge
Special Advisor, CG Policy
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Chris is a special advisor at Nestor Advisors focusing on Corporate governance policies and disclosure systems.

Chris is an experienced policy-maker who has worked at the highest levels with business, investors, regulators, governments and international organisations, and has written and presented extensively on the topics of governance and stewardship.

For ten years until 2014 Chris was Director of Corporate Governance at the UK’s Financial Reporting Council. He was responsible for developing and promoting the UK Corporate Governance Code, one of the earliest and most influential codes for companies. The practices that he introduced include board effectiveness reviews and public reporting on the management of significant risks. He was also responsible for introducing the first national stewardship code for investors in the UK in 2010.

More recently Chris was the FRC’s Strategy Director from 2014 until January 2016. He was responsible for developing the FRC’s overall strategy and plan for 2016-19 and for overseeing its external communications, public affairs and international influencing activities.

In his time at the FRC, Chris contributed to a number of UK government and other reviews, such as the Walker Review of the governance of banks and other financial institutions, and was secretary to the Pre-Emption Group. He established, and chaired for eight years until 2015, the European Corporate Governance Codes Network which shares information and good practice among the bodies responsible for codes in 28 European countries. In this capacity Chris provided advice to the European Commission and ESMA, and in his personal capacity he has advised bodies such as the OECD and EBRD.

As well working with Nestor Advisors, Chris is currently an advisor to ICSA: The Governance Institute and Vice-Chair of the Hellenic Corporate Governance Council. He is an Honorary Life Fellow of the Institute of Risk Management.

Chris began his career in the UK Civil Service, where his various positions included responsibility for deregulation, competition policy and liaison with the EU. Chris has a BA (Hons) in Philosophy from the University of Essex.

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Xenia Kazoli
Special Advisor, Legal Affairs
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Xenia is a special advisor at Nestor Advisors focusing on regulatory reform and corporate governance.

Xenia is an experienced international lawyer, admitted to the bars of New York Paris and Athens. She has completed large and complex transactions in multinational environments, advised the governments of Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal in privatisations and offering, as well as advised clients on EU financial regulations and corporate governance.

Until 2015 Xenia was a counsel at Allen & Overy LLP, where she spent 15 years specializing in international debt and equity offerings and advising on privatisations and cross border transactions. Prior to this was, she was practicing with Skadden Arps LLP in their Paris and London offices in the international capital markets team.

Xenia has also worked with the World Bank, conducting legal assessment, policy and regulatory reform and advising on judicial capacity building in Peru, Argentina, El Salvador and Venezuela, and more recently as an expert with the European Union in Georgia providing technical assistance and training to government officials on negotiation and drafting of international contracts.

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David Klingensmith
Senior Advisor
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David is a senior advisor with Nestor Advisors focusing on risk, management, governance and culture.

David’s career has been in international banking focusing on recognising, structuring, and managing risk with the skills to enhance value and achieve results. He has held roles as a lender, an auditor, and a portfolio manager advising on how to position an organisation strategically, improve returns and reduce losses. His skills of assessment and practical solutions reflect 35 years worth of experience gained in different economic cycles and regulatory environments. Over this period, he has lived and faced multi-jurisdictional challenges in Colombia, the US, Pakistan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and, for the last 19 years, London. His sector experience is comprehensive includes project finance, shipping, natural resources, industrial and agriculture firms, financial intermediaries, and real estate among others.

Until the end of 2013, David was the managing director of risk at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. This position followed other risk roles in the EBRD including being the director responsible for the screening, structuring, and pricing of new loans and investments in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, and the CIS. Prior to that, David worked in the private sector group of the Asian Development Bank on investments in South Asia; and at the Chase Manhattan Bank in various roles internationally including as a team leader in credit and risk audit determining and finding solutions to the risks in acquisitions, existing portfolios, and problematic situations in Pittsburg, Miami, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and Argentina.

Since 2013, David has in various capacities worked with the Gates Foundation on innovative finance, been a board member and chair of the audit committee of a Romanian gas company, as well as the investment committee of an Africa-focused equity fund actively investing in small and medium sized financial firms. David’s long standing interest in risk and emerging markets is reflected in his training as an international economist; stints as an assistant in the US Senate and in the international department of the US Treasury; and participation in the Chase Manhattan Bank intensive commercial banking training program.

David has a BA from Tulane University (cum laude) and an MA from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. David speaks French and Spanish.

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Mike Lubrano
Senior Advisor, Board Training
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Mike Lubrano is a recognized expert and advisor on corporate governance in emerging markets. He has worked with Nestor Advisors in the fields of corporate governance training and development since 2011. Mike has counselled commercial companies, financial institutions, investors, ministries, regulators and stock exchanges on governance matters, and conducted detailed assessments of the governance of financial and commercial institutions worldwide. Mike teaches and conducts workshops on corporate governance in emerging markets. He has lectured at Harvard, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, New York University, Erasmus and other universities and professional schools.

In addition to his role at Nestor Advisors, Mike serves as Managing Director for Corporate Governance at Cartica Capital, an emerging markets fund manager with more than US$2.5 billion under management.

Until December 2007, Mike was the founder and manager of the Corporate Governance Unit of the International Finance Corporation. Under his direction, the unit developed the IFC Corporate Governance Methodology, which is used by IFC and most other international development finance institutions to assess the quality of governance of potential investee companies and to identify opportunities to add value by improving their boards, control environment, transparency and disclosure practices and treatment of financial stakeholders. From 2000 to 2003, Mike advised the São Paulo Stock Exchange on the formation of Novo Mercado, Brazil’s special listing segment for better-governed firms. He was also a member of the team that drafted Chile’s reform of tender offer and corporate governance legislation (1997-2001).

In 2001, Mike, along with Stilpon Nestor, co-founded the Latin America Corporate Governance Roundtable, which brings together public and private sector players from within and outside the region to discuss strategies for advancing the legal/regulatory framework, voluntary practices and private infrastructure for corporate governance in Latin America.

From 1987 to 1994, Mike was an associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, where his practice focused on assisting issuers and underwriters in the public offering of American Depositary Receipts of Latin American companies. Mike holds a BA from Harvard College, a JD from New York University and an MPA from the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University.

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John Merrigan
Senior Advisor
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John is a senior advisor with Nestor Advisors focusing on corporate governance best practices and execution for SME clients.

John is a highly experienced senior executive with a track record of leadership and execution of strategy in the global downstream oil & gas sector, following a 21 year international career with Shell and Chevron.

Starting in Shell UK, John held several leadership positions, managing business streams in Europe including products trading, global exports and sales. He was then transferred to Dubai and led market entry projects in Sri Lanka, India, Iran, Lebanon and Central Asia, travelling extensively to build business infrastructure and liaise with governments and state agencies. His work also engaged him on roles on a number of executive boards and leading special project teams.

At Chevron, John rose to lead the downstream marketing business in Europe, Africa and Middle East, leading a large diverse cross cultural team across the region. He led major global organizational changes, business strategy deployments, the implementation of corporate governance practices, complexity reduction projects, operational excellence processes, ERP systems projects, sales management turnaround projects, franchising and safety initiatives. His experience has also engaged him in working across different organizational types including corporate, operating units, joint ventures and distributors. He also led the downstream market entry into Saudi Arabia.

John’s oil and gas experience has also engaged him in working with upstream projects and teams at government level and with state oil companies. He has conducted key refinery infrastructure reviews, leadership and culture reviews, and worked extensively as an expert consultant with global advisory companies preparing large oil and gas entities for IPO / Sale.

John spent 5 years as CEO of a large family business in the UAE, supporting them and other family businesses to successfully align family members to implement succession planning, risk management and family office strategies.

Prior to joining Nestor Advisors, John ran his own corporate governance advisory practice for 3 years, based in Dubai, with clients throughout the Middle East region. His practice completed over 70 corporate governance projects helping SME clients achieve tangible business results. His industry governance expertise includes the following sectors: oil & gas, education, insurance, healthcare, food, hotels, construction, manufacturing, events management, communications, technology and brand / marketing agencies.

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Jennifer Palmer
Special Advisor, Board Services & Support
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Jennifer is a special advisor at Nestor Advisors focusing on Board Services and Support.

Since 2014 Jennifer has also been the Managing Director, Goldstream Governance Limited.

Formerly, Jennifer was the Deputy Head of Assurance, RBS (2012-2014) specialising in operational corporate governance; Deputy Company Secretary, Standard Bank Group (2010-2012); Business Analyst/Company Secretary, Macquarie Group (2005-2008); Assistant Company Secretary, JP Morgan Chase (2003-2005); and Assistant Company Secretary, F&C (2002-2003).

Education: ICSA Chartered Secretary (2005), ICSA Fellow (2010), Kensington College of Business; BA (Hons) in English Language & Literature, University of Surrey.

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David Risser
Director
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David, an economist, is the head of the analyst team at Nestor Advisors that focuses on risk and controls and is responsible for our director development programmes. He has been involved with the provision of internal audit, board training services, governance and board evaluation to the firm’s clients. David has considerable experience in engaging with international financial institutions, not-for-profit organizations and corporations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He became a director of the firm in 2015.

Prior to joining Nestor Advisors in 2003, David established and managed the Economic Studies Department of RSM Salustro Reydel (now KPMG), in its Prague offices (1998-2002). From 1999 to 2003, he was an assistant professor at the EM Lyon (Lyon School of Management) in the Finance and Systems Team, a lecturer at University Lumière of Lyon and researcher at GATE-CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research).

David is a non-executive board member and Treasurer of Amnesty International CZ, and a member of the Governance Advisory Committee of the Accion Center for Financial Inclusion, the Professional Risk Managers’ International Associations (PRMIA), and the Institute of Internal Audit (IIA). He lectures on governance and risk for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Institute of International Finance (IIF), the London Stock Exchange Academy, Charles University and various institutes of directors. David holds a post-graduate diploma in Banking, Finance and International Economics, with Honours magna cum laude from EM Lyon and University Lumière of Lyon, and a Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA). In addition to his mother tongue, French, David speaks fluent English and Czech, and intermediate Spanish and German.

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