Central & Eastern European Automotive Forum

20 - 21 November 2019

New York Palace Hotel, Budapest, Hungary

Speakers, panellists and hosts from previous years

Present positions:
since 12.2007 Deputy CEO of Magyar Suzuki Corporation
since 10.2002 Member of the Supervisory Board of the National Bank of Hungary
since late 1999 Member of the Board of Directors of
- DECOMA Hungary Ltd.
- GEAC Hungary Ltd.

Earlier work record:

2000 – 2007 General Manager of AssistConsult Business Advisory Ltd., Bp.
1998 – 2000 Société Générale Hungária Bank Ltd. and Konzumbank Ltd.,
1977-1998 National Bank of Hungary

1972-1977 B.A. in Economics
1984-1987 Postgraduate Diploma: M.Phil. in International Economics
1993 Ph.D.in Economics (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest)
Languages: Fluent in English, French, German and Russian. Mother-tongue: Hungarian

General Motors Manufacturing Poland

The Gliwice plant has been operating since 1998. Now it is one of the most modern General Motors facilities in the world. Four main stations (the press shop, the body shop, the paint shop and the assembly line) are spread over the area of 1,5 million square feet. Currently 3 900 employees accompanied by 271 modern robots work in the plant on a three-shift basis. The production capacity amounts to 207 000 vehicles annually and 281 vehicles per shift. The vast majority (98%) of manufactured vehicles is exported to Western and Central Europe.

The Tychy plant employs 550 workers and manufactures 1.7 diesel engines at an annual capacity of 330 000 units. No less than 90% of the production is exported to Western Europe and Korea. In 2014 General Motors announced a major investment in the plant to be modernised to produce the latest generation 1.6 diesel engines starting from 2017. The plant’s capacity is expected to increase up to 200 000 engines per year.

The Gliwice plant is recognised for two Opel models: the Astra and the Cascada. The latter has been produced under Opel/Vauxhall brand since 2013. Now it is also manufactured for American and Australian brands (Buick and Holden respectively). However, the brand’s bestseller Opel Astra comprises the vast majority of production. The plant is the leading manufacturer of this model in Europe and as such it is responsible for Opel/Vauxhall quality standards. Cutting-edge technology, well trained employees and the superior quality all help deliver the products that meet our customers’ requirements.


General Motors Manufacturing

Poland Sp. z o.o.
ul. Adama Opla 1
44-121 Gliwice

Tel.: +48 32 270 90 00
Fax: +48 32 270 91 00

Brose Group

Brose is the world’s fifth-largest family-owned automotive supplier. The company develops and produces mechatronic systems for vehicle doors and seats as well as electric motors, drives and electronics, among others for steering, brakes, transmissions and engine cooling. The company employs more than 25,000 employees at 60 locations in 23 countries. Every second new vehicle worldwide is equipped with at least one Brose product.


Axel Mallener is General Manager of both Brose plants in Slovakia. 

Axel Mallener works in automotive industry almost 17 years. He started his career as a Process Engineer. During his career in automotive industry he has worked as Logistics&Purchasing Manager, Production Manager and he was also responsible for Kaizen implementation. By the age of 32 years he started to work as a Plant Manager at Metzeler Automotive Profile System GmbH in Poland. He joined Brose in 2008 as a General Manager of Brose Bratislava.

The Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA) operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Through its extensive network of contacts in the public and private sectors, HIPA provides foreign investors with high-quality support for critical investment decisions, and a wealth of supplementary services. HIPA is here to help you through the whole investment process, from start to finish, through a free of charge, one-stop shop service approach.

Upon request HIPA helps to identify and find suppliers and offers to put together a list of experts. It handles its own project portfolio, the (Hungarian Investment Projects – HIP), that contains projects certified by experts that are awaiting foreign capital input. It promotes the re-investment by companies already present in Hungary.





2004 - current: Manager Sourcing Office Eastern Europe MAGNA Europe, Nové Mesto nad Váhom

2002-2004 Chief of Purchasing Department LEONI Autokabel Slowakia s. r. o. Trenčín

2000-2004 Advanced Purchasing LEONI Bordnetzsysteme GmbH Co. & KG Kitzingen, Germany

1997-2000 Chief of Sales Department, TATRA SIPOX j. s. c. Bánovce nad Bebravou

1995-1997 Chief of Spare parts sales department, TATRA SIPOX j. s. c. Bánovce nad Bebravou

1995 Assistant to the Commercial Director, TATRA SIPOX j. s. c. Bánovce nad Bebravou


2012 - 2016 PhD Doctoral Study University of Economics in Bratislva

2008 - 2010 MBA-Course Alexander Dubcek University in Trencin

1987 - 1991 Technical University in Zvolen, Diploma of Engineer, rewarded by dean



Magna, a publicly listed company since 1962, the most diversified automotive supplier in the world, designs, develops and manufactures automotive systems, assemblies, modules and components, and engineers and assembles complete vehicles, primarily for sale to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of cars and light trucks in North America, Europe, Asia and South America. We are a leading global automotive supplier with 306 manufacturing operations and 92 product development, engineering and sales centres in 29 countries. We have over 147,000 employees focused on delivering superior value to our customers through innovative processes and World Class Manufacturing. At its heart Magna is an engineering and manufacturing company with deep expertise across many areas of the vehicle. Our wide-ranging product capabilities include body, chassis, exterior, seating, powertrain, electronic, vision, closure and roof systems and modules, as well as complete vehicle engineering and contract manufacturing. Magna remains focused on technological innovation in our products and processes to enhance and differentiate our customers’ vehicles.  Our commitment and innovative spirit leads to new market opportunities and strengthened customer relationships.  Over the years we have been first to market with numerous products, spanning our deep capabilities. We value our customers and are committed to delivering them innovative, high-quality products. We work closely with our customers to solve problems, identify new materials and processes, and provide unique solutions to industry challenges. We aim to be our customers' preferred global supplier partner for the automotive industry, by delivering the best value built on innovative products and processes and World Class Manufacturing. We strive to be the employer of choice, an ethical and responsible corporate citizen and a superior long-term investment for our shareholders.


Since 2014 Heiner Giese is in charge for innovation- and idea management at item Industrietechnik GmbH in Germany. Additionally, in 2016, he established an organizational development group, supporting corporate development.

Heiner Giese studied mechanical engineering at Duisburg University and RWTH Aachen University. He graduated in 2009 and afterwards joined the process engineering lab at RWTH Aachen. Five years, he worked as a lecturer and scientist. In 2014 he obtained a doctorate in mechanical engineering science.

Automotive Chemistry and Textile engineer as formation, spent the last 23 years of career in 9 countries, working at 4 major Tier 1 Companies.

President of the Investor Club at Regional Chamber of Commerce Nis
Member of Automotive Associations and Clusters in CEE.

Specialist in turnaround plan, manufacturing excellence, business plans, grants management, brown and greenfield set up.

Jörg Hölig studied electrical engineering at Dresden Technical University. He graduated in 1992 and afterwards joined Continental Safety Engineering International, followed by ACTS (part of the Magna group) for another five years and has been staying with EDAG since 2003. After having lead the vehicle safety department for eight years, he moved on in 2016 to manage EDAG's integral safety innovations: "Integral safety" is a holistic approach to vehicle safety, adding active safety and ADAS features to complement "traditional" passive vehicle safety. He's an active member of German VDA's FAT working groups on "the human being as driver" and "accident investigation".

Viktor Mizo is the Managing Director of Kostal Group’s operation in Macedonia since 2017 – a highly automated plant for mechatronic and electronic products for premium automotive customers. Prior to that he was the CEO of the Macedonian Free Zones Authority and a key member of the Government’s economic team responsible for attracting foreign investments. He had a record of exceptional leadership and strategic vision, responsible for numerous greenfield investment projects by multinational companies that have located their production or service operations in Macedonia. Having spent most of his business career in the US, he worked as a design engineer at Magna, Master Black Belt within a Technical Leadership programme at General Electric and as management consultant at McKinsey. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology, graduating summa cum laude. An alumnus of Harvard University, Mr. Mizo holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Robert Šimončič has over 30 years of professional experience in the U.S. and Slovakia. He headed the Slovak branch of Microsoft and in April 2004 he was awarded the prestigious award the IT Personality of the Year 2004 in Slovakia. Prior to joining Microsoft Slovakia he worked in the field of management consulting, first with PricewaterhouseCoopers as a Principal Consultant and later with the IBM as the Senior Manager of Business Innovation Services Division in the U.S. His primary field in the business consultancy was development of company strategies and government organizations. He was the President of the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Slovakia and also the Chairman of the Board for the American Chambers of Commerce (European Council of American Chambers of Commerce – ECACC). From December 2010 he is the CEO of Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO).

He also serves on the board of two leading Universities in Slovakia. He is a board member of the University of Economics in Bratislava. Since May 2013 he has also served as the Chairman of the Board of the Comenius University in Bratislava.

He is married and with his wife Lucia he is raising their rapidly growing twins, Esther and Goran.

On November 7th, 2017, the Government of the Republic of Moldova appointed Vitalie Tarlev as State Secretary for Information Technology and Communications at the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure.

Previously he served as Deputy Minister of Information Technology and Communications since 2013, and Director within the same Ministry, since 2005.

Mr. Tarlev has been involved in numerous high profiled ICT national and international initiatives and his duties and responsibilities being focused on policy and legal framework for Information Society development as follows: Digital Moldova 2020 Strategy, sustainable and balanced growth of ICT industry (Law on IT parks, Start-up Visa, digital education), Emergency communications (112 Service), Digital signature, Cyber security program (NIS infrastructure, content & services, human capital and cyber security), transition to terrestrial digital TV broadcasting, efficient Radio frequencies management, ccTLD.md administration, Maintenance and interoperability of the basic governmental registries, etc.

He speaks Romanian, English and Russian.


Pawel Widel serves as Government Relations Director at GM Poland. Since 1991 has been taking various positions within GM in Poland, Czech Republic and Russia. Vice chair of Automotive Employers Association. Member of Program Council of Global Road Safety Partnership Poland. Awarded with the Bronze Country Defense Merit Medal.

Gestamp has a global presence in the world. With its origin in Western Europe, the group has focused its expansion into North America, South America, Eastern Europe and Asia, where the automotive market is developing. Present in 20 countries, has nearly 100 industrial plants, 12 R&D centers and a workforce of over 32,000 employees worldwide.

PSA Peugeot Citroen Slovakia, Trnava

The plant has a designed capacity to produce 300,000 cars annually, originally intended to employ 3,000 people organised into three shifts, equating to an hourly output of 55 vehicles. The Trnava plant was built to produce the company’s “Platform 1” cars, i.e. small cars. The first car to be produced in volume was the Peugeot 207 produced initially in October 2006 at a daily rate of 450, with an increase to 800 scheduled in time for Q2, 2007.

With the 2013 production the factory was close to its planned capacity with daily production of 1200 cars and 3500 emploees. In 2014 with 3500 emploees and 255,176 cars was a capacity used to 85% including 30 days when it was not producing.

General director of the plant Rémi Girardon confirmed in March 2015 a plan to produce third car model (Citroën) with a goal of 360.000 cars in 2017 and therefore from May 2015 hourly output will be increased to 57 to 60 vehicles with new employees. In 2016 there will be introduced the fourth (weekend) shift, so the number of emploee should rise in 2018 to around 4200.

since 04/14

Responsible to lead a team of process engineers in the regions North America, Europe and China to define, conduct and implement relevant process innovation for automotive interior applications. In order to be the most relevant Interior supplier we define with the support of our customers, suppliers and end consumers the need for further innovations, develop those and strive to quickly implement those successfully into products. We focus on all relevant materials and processes for our five product lines instrument panels, door panels, center consoles, overhead systems and decorative trim.

03/98 - 03/14
Several management positions at Johnson Controls from leading the Thermoplastic Department over leading the Interior Prototyping Department to leading the Advanced Manufacturing Departments in Europe and North America ensuring successful launches of Interior products in all Interior plants.


09/94 – 02/98

Remote doctoral dissertation conducted at The Ohio State University in
Columbus, Ohio and at the Technical University of Aachen (RWTH Aachen)
advised by the Institute for Plastics Processing (IKV), Degree: Ph. D. (Dr.-Ing.),
topic: Gas assisted injection molding

10/86 - 06/94

Mechanical Engineering at the Technical University of Aachen (RWTH Aachen),
Germany advised by the Institute for Plastics Processing (IKV), Degree: Master of
Science (Dipl.-Ing.)


MATADOR Group established a key position in the Central European market as a system supplier of automotive and non-automotive solutions. The company was founded more than 112 years ago and significantly influenced the history of the Slovak industry. For global customers we provide services that help shaping the mobility universe. Whether it is engineering and design of vehicles or serial production of structural parts we are ready to go the extra mile. To support this, we offer a broad range of industrial services including factory automation, stamping tools production or mechanical engineering.  Our more than 2 600 employees are located at our premises in Slovakia, Czech Republic and Russia. This global orientation enables us to provide our customers best services in time and quality which we see as a precondition to be the first choice for them.