Meet the Speakers

Don’t miss this year’s keynote speaker from the Economists Intelligence Unit, Dexter Thillien and more.

The 2024 Business Forum aims to understand and explore the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for our industry from various perspective.  Although AI has been around since the 1950s, it is only in recent years that it has come to realisation and innovators are excited.  

Speakers

  • Dejan Ristić

    Minister of Information and Telecommunications

    He was born in Belgrade on 20 April 1972. He is a historian, translator, screenwriter and one of the leading experts in the field of integral protection and management of cultural heritage.

    He performed the duties of manager of the National Library of Serbia, director of the Museum of Genocide Victims, State Secretary for Culture and other.

    He deals with diplomatic history (Serbian-British and Serbian-French relations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; Yugoslav-Algerian relations since 1954), the Holocaust, the relationship between the state and traditional religious communities in the 20th century, cultural history and the culture of memory.

    He is the author of dozens of scientific works and books, among which the scientific monograph entitled “House of Incombustible Words: The National Library of Serbia 1838-1941” stands out, based on which “Filmske Novosti” made a documentary film, “Memories from the Ashes”.

    He is a participant in numerous international professional and scientific meetings. He attended specialised education in Jerusalem and London in the field of public administration and Holocaust research, as a scholarship holder of the British and Israeli governments.

    He translated the works authored by Dr. Jan Kershaw “Hitler – Hubris: 1889-1936” and “Hitler – Nemesis: 1936-1945”, prof. Dr. Susan Wise Bauer, “History of the Ancient World: First Civilisations”, “History of the Ancient World: First Empires”, “History of the Ancient World: First Transformations”, two-volume “History of the Medieval World: From the Christianisation of Emperor Constantine I the Great to the First Crusade”, as and professor Philip Khuri Hitti, “Makers of Arab history” (as co-translator).

    He is a participant in international professional and scientific meetings held in Belgrade, London, Trondheim, Jerusalem, Vienna, The Hague, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Bratislava, Prague, Moscow, Oslo, Helsinki, Brussels, Leuven, Luxembourg, Haifa, Liechtenstein, Bucharest, Ljubljana and others.

    He attended specialized education in Jerusalem and London in the field of public administration and Holocaust research.

    He is the co-author of the National exhibition of the Republic of Serbia entitled “Military memorials and places of suffering from the Second World War”, which won the first prize at the International Exhibition “Memorial 2011” (Moscow, 2011), as well as the exhibition “Petar I Karađorđević – King and Warrior”. (Topola, Foundation of King Petar I Karađorđević, 2011) and “Remember me because I’m gone” (Belgrade, Historical Museum of Serbia, 2011).

    He coordinated activities on the creation of nomination files for the entry of glory (intangible cultural heritage), the telegram by which Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia in 1914 (movable cultural heritage) and stećak (immovable cultural heritage) on the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage.

    During his work at the National Library of Serbia, he devoted special attention to the protection and enrichment of the national fund, professional work, publishing activities, as well as the improvement of international library cooperation. He established the model of the national library as a multifunctional institution of culture. In that period, the National Library of Serbia received a whole series of high awards, such as the Order of Happiness, second degree, the Outstanding Golden Beočug, the Award of the City of Belgrade for the best book in the field of humanities in 2012, as well as recognition at international book fairs in Belgrade and Podgorica, etc. He initiated and implemented the legal procedure for the introduction of the academic compulsory copy.

    He established National Book Day and founded the Janko Šafarik National Award in the field of librarianship. He also founded the Foundation of the National Library of Serbia and the Foundation of the Museum of Genocide Victims.

    During his duties as director of the Museum of Genocide Victims, in the period from 2021 to 2024, he carried out a complete reorganization of that national cultural institution, which underwent a rapid and comprehensive transformation under his leadership. The collections and funds of the Museum are enriched with several tens of thousands of first-rate valuable historical and other material sources that bear witness to the suffering of the Serbs during the Second World War, and especially during the genocide carried out against them by the NDH. At the same time, under his leadership, the Museum published dozens of scientific studies, realized dozens of exhibitions in Serbia and abroad (France, China, Slovakia, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro), organized more than a hundred educational programs in Serbia and other countries, produced several documentary-feature films…

    He is personally responsible for the discovery of the list of Serbian children saved during the Dijana Budisavljević operation, as well as Directive no. 25, by which Adolf Hitler ordered the attack on the Kingdom of Yugoslavia on 28 March 1941, which are stored in the Museum of Genocide Victims.

    He is the recipient of the “Seal of Matica Srpska”, the Memorial Medal of the Ministry of Defense, the “Golden Badge of the Serbian Prison Service”, the Letter of Appreciation of the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade, the plaque of the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, the recognition of the National Museum of Serbia, the Museum of Science and Technology, “Film News”, “Radoje Domanović” public library in Leskovac, NC “Defence” of the Ministry of Defence for the best associate…

    He is married and the father of two children.

  • Dr. Jelena Begović

    Minister of Science, Technological development and Innovation of the Government of the Republic of Serbia

    Jelena Begović, who is currently serving her second mandate as a Minister of science, technological development and innovation of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, was born in Belgrade in 1970, where she completed her primary and secondary education. She initially enrolled in the Chemistry for Research and Development program at the Faculty of Chemistry but switched to the Faculty of Biology at the University of Belgrade after her first year.

    During the course of her studies, she spent two years at the University of British Columbia in Canada, after which she returned to Serbia and graduated from the Faculty of Biology at the University of Belgrade.

    She has been employed at the Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering at the University of Belgrade since 1998. She obtained her master’s degree in 2002 and defended her doctoral dissertation in the field of molecular genetics at the Faculty of Biology in 2008. Since 2018, she holds the title of a Scientific Advisor.

    Begović has held the position of director of the Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering since 2014. She also served as the Laboratory for Molecular Microbiology chief at the Institute. For more than 20 years, she has been involved in research in the fields of molecular genetics and biotechnology, applying her research in various sectors, including the food and pharmaceutical industries.

    She has published more than 60 scientific papers in leading international journals and is an active member of numerous scientific associations.

    She has been representing the Republic of Serbia on the Board of Governors since 2011, which is the governing body of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, established by the United Nations, having its centers in Italy, India, and the Republic of South Africa. Significant financial resources have been secured through this organization over the years, and for scientific projects, conferences, and student education support in Serbia. She is elected to be the first woman ever to chair the Board of Governors of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB).

    Through numerous projects, she actively participates in technology transfer processes implementation and the introduction of the concept of innovation in research in Serbia and the region. Over the years, she has gained experience and knowledge about the entire innovation process and its commercialization – from the laboratory to the market.

    She has led and participated in various national and international scientific projects throughout her scientific career, and led collaborations with industry, including domestic and foreign companies as well.

    In recent years, Begović has been dedicated to mentoring and providing assistance to researchers in innovation development projects. As an expert, she has been involved in state strategies development and writing, including Serbia’s Smart Specialization Strategy.

    At the pandemic onset in 2020, the Government of the Republic of Serbia appointed her as the coordinator for the development and construction of the FireEye laboratories in Belgrade and Niš, which began operating in 2020, contributing to strengthening Serbia’s testing capacities during the pandemic.

    With the support of the state, she established the Center for Sequencing and Bioinformatics at the Institute in 2021, enabling Serbia to begin forming a national genomic data bank.

    She is one of the conceptual creators of the BIO4 Campus project, supported by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, which aims to bring together academia, research entrepreneurs and companies around the idea of developing Serbia through advances in biomedicine, biotechnology, bioinformatics and biodiversity.

  • Dexter Thillien

    Lead Analyst for Technology and Telecoms at Economic Intelligence Unit

    Dexter Thillien works for the EIU as the Lead Analyst for
    technology and telecoms. His specialist areas are regulation, the intersection between technology and industries and as well as between technology and geopolitics, and the strategy of Big Tech companies. He has also published several reports, the latest called Why AI matters on opportunities, risks, and regulation. He has presented to a wide range of audiences since 2010, most recently for several clients on AI use cases, its role in digital transformation and regulation across the world.

    In his current role, Dexter leads the editorial coverage for
    the technology and telecoms hub, looking at the market in itself as well as the impact of technology more broadly, highlighting the implications for corporate, financial and government clients. He has presented at several telecoms-specific trade conferences over the years, including events organised by the European Commission. He has produced webinars for a wide range of clients, and has been interviewed by several media, including the BBC, CNBC or Bloomberg.

    Dexter joined the EIU in 2021, and has been an analyst since 2008. A French national, he has been living in the UK since 1998, and holds a Master’s Degree from King’s College London.

  • Stefan Badža

    Advisor to the President of the National Assembly of Serbia

    Stefan Badža is an Advisor to the President of the National Assembly of Serbia. He also works on developing the innovation ecosystem, with a focus on artificial intelligence. Stefan initiated and led the development of the Government’s artificial intelligence strategy and its implementation. The development and implementation of this strategic document have resulted, among other things, in the establishment of the Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the development of seven new master’s courses, the introduction of artificial intelligence in schools, and the establishment of the National Platform for Artificial Intelligence. Stefan is representing Serbia in Global Partnership on AI, which is chaired by Serbia in 2025.

  • Pierre-Étienne Bardin

    Chief Data Officer of La Poste Groupe and President of Probayes

    Pierre-Étienne Bardin holds a DEA in economic modelling. After starting his career at Cap Gemini and Schlumberger, notably as a consultant for banks and insurance companies (1997-2003), he joined AXA Technologies and Services in 2004. There, he successively held the positions of director of applications for central functions and director of cross-functional programs: security, large contracts, financial transparency, and organizational transformation.

    In 2013, he was appointed director of IT strategy program for the AXA Group and director of Big Data at the Data Innovation Lab, before being hired in 2016 by Société Générale as director of the Big Data Hub and artificial intelligence.

    Since 2018, he has held the positions of Chief Data Officer of La Poste Group and President of Probayes (company specializing in Artificial Intelligence, which has contributed to the development of use cases such as automatic address reading, mail and parcel sorting, credit card fraud detection and automatic invoice processing…). He is a member of the executive committee of the “Digital Services Branch and Retail Network PostOffices Directorate”.

  • Carlos Bhatt

    Head of Innovation Management at CTT Portugal Post

    Carlos is the Head of Innovation Management at CTT Portugal Post and also serves as the Chairman of the Innovation Forum of PostEurop. He has several years of work experience in innovation management and strategy, particularly in the fields of telecommunications and technology, digital economy, FMCG, energy, logistics, and construction. Carlos has published several scientific papers in international peer-reviewed journals and has lectured at the University of Lisbon. He holds a PhD in Civil Engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico of the University of Lisbon, as well as an INSEAD General Management Program for Executives. At CTT, his work includes managing the Group’s Innovation Agenda, fostering relationships with external innovation ecosystems such as universities and startups, operationally executing CTT’s venture capital fund, securing funding for R&D projects from European funding programs, and managing the internal crowdsourcing platform for collecting innovation ideas.

  • Christian Østergaard

    Lead Visionary and Senior Group Strategist for PostNord

    Lead Visionary and Senior Group Strategist, former Business CIO (PostNord), Head of Logistics (Post Danmark) and Program Director (Bpost) with a demonstrated history of reengineering and innovating logistics and supply chain industry. Strong media and communication professional skilled in Business Innovations and Process, Negotiation, Business Planning, Operations Management, and Analytical Skills. Results through action and not PowerPoint. +38 years in the postal industry. Winner of Parcel & PostExpo’s Transport Innovation of the Year 2022. Winner of Parcel & PostExpo’s Sorting and Warehouse innovation of the year 2023.

  • Milos Zlatkovic

    Mily Tech

    Miloš is an experienced leader who knows how to build and scale high-performing teams and organizations. As an Engineering Manager at Milestone Systems, he led a part of an organization with teams in three different countries, building highly scalable products and services used by companies like Apple, FBI, City of Denver, and JFK Airport, to name a few.

    At Mily Technologies, he leads the company’s business efforts and is responsible for overall success, sales, marketing, and strategic partnerships.

    www.milytech.com

  • Elena Fernández Rodríguez (Moderator)

    Director of International Affairs and Sustainability, Correos y Telégrafos S.A. and Chairwoman of the PostEurop Board of Directors

    Mother of 5 children, she has a Law Degree from the Complutense University of Madrid and a Master’s Degree in International Relations and Foreign Trade. Elena has taken several courses at the London School of Economics, IESE, IE and ESADE, in addition to the PROMOCIONA training program: Executive Program for Women in Senior Management.

    She has chaired, among others, the Strategy Committee and the Development Cooperation Committee at the Universal Postal Union (United Nations’ Agency for the Postal Sector) and at the European level, she is Chair of the European Affairs Committee at PostEurop since 2015.

    At Correos, she holds the position of Director of International Relations and Sustainability since 2016, being responsible for the design of the international regulatory strategy, the Studies Service and the definition of the company’s Sustainability Plan. Previously, she was Head of International Relations and Regulation from 2004 to 2015.

  • Botond Szebeny (Moderator)

    Secretary General of PostEurop

    Botond Szebeny is responsible since 2009 for co-ordinating the activities of the Association implemented in various fields including regulations (EU and UPU), operations, CSR, market, e-commerce, sustainability and customs, as well as leading the Headquarters of the Association located in Brussels.

    He also served in the Board of Directors of the European cross-industry campaign, Print Power.

    Prior to joining PostEurop, Botond had been member of the Executive Committee, at Magyar Posta for 6 years, responsible for the International Business.  During that time, he was also member on the Management Board of PostEurop with the responsibility of chairing the European Union Affairs Committee (EAC) of the Association. He lead various initiatives, including the UPU’s Financial Committee, and acted as external advisor to the EU’s European Economic and Social Committee.

    He has university degrees in economics, diplomacy, and law, and speaks fluently several European languages.

  • Sophie Desier (Moderator)

    Head of Bilateral Relations with all European Postal Operators,  La Poste Group

    Sophie Desier is Head of Bilateral Relations with all European Postal Operators at la Poste Group. She coordinates thirty business experts who participate in PostEurop’s Working Groups,. She has 20 years’ experience of the postal and logistic sector including 10 years at Asendia and 10 years as Product Owner Proximity Services in Marketing and Innovation Department. She launched the proximity service “Visit my parents” in 2012. She has also worked at Reliv International Inc (micro nutrition sector) as Head of European Distributors Network in 2013-2016. She holds a Master in International Relations from La Sorbonne Paris III (IHEAL) she recently passed a certification in Strategic and Economic Intelligence (IHEDN, Paris).  She is also a member of “Club de Paris des Directeurs Innovation” since april 2024 and is currently participating in their executive program at the European Institute of Creative Stratégies and Innovation, Paris.

    Since October 2022, she is co-chair of the PostEurop Innovation Forum along with SwissPost and CTT Portugal.

  • Thierry Golliard (Moderator)

    Director of Open Innovation and Venturing at Swiss Post

    Thierry is Director of Open Innovation and Venturing of Swiss Post. In this role, he has been developing open innovation initiatives with external partners as start-ups, universities and accelerators in Switzerland, Germany, France, China and US. These innovation ecosystems enabled disruptive projects as, amongst others, the use of exoskeletons, the dynamic deliveries and the autonomous shuttles. Furthermore, he is managing the strategic venture capital funds of Swiss Post. Thierry holds several Masters in Economics and Technology from the University of Fribourg, EPFL, IMD and UC Berkeley. Since 2022, Thierry is also Vice Chair of PostEurop Innovation Forum.

    www.post.ch/venture