Expat CEO of the Year Award


Work has already been underway for some time on what will be the eighth annual BBJ Expat CEO of the Year Gala, due to be held on Friday,

March 25, 2022.

The title of Expat CEO of the Year is given to the business leader who has done most for the country’s development and international recognition through his or her professionalism and outstanding achievements in the past 12 months.

The winner will be chosen by a professional awards committee. The co-organizer of the event, the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA), will also hand over its own special prize at the Gala. This award will be given to that leader who has done most for Hungarian suppliers and for strengthen the domestic SME sector during the past year.


The BBJ Expat CEO of the Year Gala is one of the most prestigious annual events in Hungary. On that evening the Expat CEO of the Year Award is presented to a company head chosen from among a pool of what amounts to several hundred expat leaders.

In receiving the award, the chosen CEO is recognized as the most successful foreign leader in the past year. Success here means that they contribute at an exceptional level to the economic development of Hungary, and that within their Hungarian organization they show a great example to their employees and also their peers within the expat community.

The award is now a tradition; it has been granted every year since 2015. The idea to create an award that would be given as exclusive recognition for their efforts to the most outstanding CEO of the year, came from the Budapest Business Journal.

“The BBJ is Hungary’s only English-language economic bi-weekly, and has always played an important role in providing information for expat CEOs working and living in Hungary. That is why we decided to found an award to recognize their efforts annually,” explains Balázs Román, the CEO of the Budapest Business Journal.

The BBJ Expat CEO of the Year Award

The BBJ Expat CEO of the Year Gala is an invitation only event for the most important players in the Hungarian economy. The award is given to the foreign business leader who is determined to have made the most outstanding achievements in the previous year.

After a COVID-induced delay to the gala of 18 months, Erik Slooten, CEO of Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions Hungary, was selected as the 2021 Expat CEO of the year. His immediate redecessor, albeit one named in January 2020, was BlackRock’s Melanie Seymour. Taira-Julia Lammi, CEO of ABB Hungary Kft., won the award in 2019, while in 2018, the title went to Marc de Bastos  Eckstein, CEO of Thyssenkrupp Components Technology Hungary Kft. In 2017, it was Jörg Bauer, then of GE Hungary; in 2016 it was Jost Ernst Lammers, of Budapest Airport Zrt., and the inaugural award was presented in 2015 to Javier González Pareja, of Bosch Magyarország.

Each year, our official event partner, the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency presents its Partnership Award in recognition of the work of foreign-owned multinational firms for the use of local suppliers in their value chain and of their CEOs for the ambassadorial role they play in representing Hungary to their home boards. Over the years, the award has been presented to the following: Nevijo Mance, director of engineering, Jaguar Land Rover Hungary (2021); Dale A. Martin, president-CEO of Siemens Zrt. (2020); Kannan Prabhakar, projects chief of Apollo Tyres Hungary Kft. (2019); Frank Müller, head of the Regional Office of VW Group Eastern Europe (2018); Ekkehard Günter Philipp, CFO of Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Hungary Kft. (2017); Naoyuki Takeuchi, CEO of Magyar Suzuki Zrt. (2016); and Kersten Bachmann, CEO of TAKATA Safety Systems Hungary Kft. (2015).


The independent jury members’ expertise strengthens the high quality of the award. It is comprised of leaders of bilateral chambers and international business development organizations with outstanding experience both in international and domestic economic life, complemented by the prize winner of the previous year and the CEO of the Budapest Business Journal.

Jury members are charged with nominating expat CEOs for the award based on the following criteria:

  • Innovative skills
  • Successes on domestic and international markets
  • Being a prominent and committed representative of his or her mother country in Hungary
  • Their impact on Hungary’s economic life
  • The CEO must have lived in Hungary for at least two years
  • The financial results of the company represented by the CEO must be positive

The jury responsible for deciding the 2022 winner:

Erik Slooten
CEO of Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions Hungary
Írisz Lippai-Nagy
CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hungary
Sávos András
President, DUIHK, and VP Global Enterprise Systems and Strategic Projects, Knorr-Bremse
Róbert Ésik
President of the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency
Balázs Román
CEO of the BBJ


Erik Slooten
CEO of Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions Hungary
Melanie Seymour
Former Head of BlackRock Budapest 2017-2019 Head of Global Client Services
Taira-Julia Lammi
CEO of ABB Hungary Kft.
Marc de Bastos Eckstein
CEO of thyssenkrupp Components Technology Hungary Kft.
Jörg Bauer
Managing director of GE Hungary Kft.
Jost Ernst Lammers
CEO of Budapest Airport Zrt.
Javier González Pareja
CEO of Bosch Magyarország
Nevijo Mance
Director of Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover Hungary
Dale A. Martin
Member of the Board, German-Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and President and CEO of Siemens Hungary
Kannan Prabhakar
Chief, Projects of Apollo Tyres Hungary Kft.
Frank Müller
Head of Regional Office Volkswagen Eastern Europe
Ekkehard Günther Philipp
CEO of Mercedes Benz Manufacturing Kft.
Naoyuki Takeuchi
CEO of Magyar Suzuki Zrt.
Kersten Bachmann
CEO of TAKATA Safety Systems Hungary Kft.



The dress code is black-tie: black tuxedo for men with a bow tie, evening wear for women (long ball gown or cocktail dress).

Food allergy, special diet

When registering, please let us know about any special dietary requirements.

Registration process

Registration to the event is open to those who have received a personal invitation to the BBJ Expat CEO of the Year Gala via email. Please note that only by giving a written confirmation of your registration here will you be entitled to attend the Gala. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at event@bbj.hu.


The venue of the Expat CEO of the Year Gala 2020 is the Grand Ballroom of the Corinthia Hotel Budapest.
Website: www.corinthia.com/hotels/budapest/
Address: Budapest, Erzsébet krt. 43, 1073 Hungary
Parking is possible on site at the hotel garage (spaces permitting) according to the parking rates of the Corinthia Hotel Budapest.


To become a sponsor please contact us here: balazs.roman@bbj.hu