HKS Connection in Kiev...

February 3, 2016

 

Just returned on Tuesday from a week in Kiev where we're working on a large infrastructure project (one of our specialities) for Ukraine. Met again with Natalie Jaresko (Ukrainian Minister of Finance) and we reminisced about our days at the Harvard Kennedy School many years ago...

 

 

I'm on Natalie's left in the photo above. Our fellow HKS graduate and my friend Chris Taylor is to her right at the conference at the Intercontinental that we all attended on this trip. Next to Chris is his colleague George Grokhovsky while Tom O'Callaghan from my team is on my left.

 

What a fascinating city and country! Ukrainian and Russian are widely spoken in this former Soviet state although English is commonly used in business. Stalinist architecture in large, old government buildings joins charming European structures from earlier times to give Kiev a unique character and vibe.

 

Kiev Mayor and former Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World Vitali Klitschko sat next to me at dinner at the 11 Mirrors Hotel (#1 in Kiev according to Trip Advisor) where I stayed. He owns the hotel! His Dr. Ironfist nickname acknowledges both his boxing prowess and his PhD. His brother Wladimir Klitschko (aka Dr. Steelhammer) is also a former Heavyweight World Champion and a PhD....

 

The Klitschko brothers have retired from the ring. But they always kept their fighting inside the ropes and played by the rules. Mayor Klitschko now fights in the political arena where the rules are different. My prediction? His training, discipline, competitiveness and sense of fair play will help his city and country...

 

Sadly, Ukraine and Russia are still fighting in the disputed areas to the east. This turmoil has added greatly to the country's economic and social problems. But it has also created some intriguing business opportunities that we, of course, are pursuing.

 

 

Back in Kiev next month to speak at an infrastructure conference and to advance our business interests. Also going southeast to Georgia on the Black Sea to look at a hydro power project (and to ski).

 

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February 3, 2016

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