‘Nine O’Clock’ handed out Wednesday evening, during a special gala, the ‘Persons of the Year 2012′ Awards. The event, organised for the 22nd time by Romania’s only English-language daily newspaper, was attended by political leaders, members of the government, bankers, well-known Romanian and foreign businesspeople, and over 40 foreign ambassadors accredited in Bucharest.
“Year after year, as you know, we were pleased to offer the coveted awards to the most important personalities in various sectors. Do not think this was an easy mission. We looked for personalities from all the targeted sectors and tried to reach the best conclusions. For many years, we granted the ‘Politician of the year’ award. Over the last 3-4 years, we stopped offering this award. The novelty of this edition is that we decided to grant this award again. Finally, the jury reached a common decision, so we decided to hand out the award for 2012 to Prime Minister Victor Ponta, for his spectacular evolution as a political leader, for the success obtained in the parliamentary elections and in the creation of two governments,” the Director of the Nine O’Clock, Radu Bogdan said.
Premier Victor Ponta: ‘2012, the most important year in a decade, when I knew I was doing the right thing’
As the head of the government was out of country, attending an international conference in Vienna, the award was received on his behalf by the delegate minister of Grand Projects, Mr. Dan Sova.
“The prime-minister asked me to receive this award because he couldn’t be present here this evening”, Sova said.
“Thank you for the award. I feel that 2012 has been one of the most important political years for the last decade. It was a sign that I chose to do what’s right. This award comes from a publication that I think deserves respect because of its professional standards. Not only your newspaper covers a segment that would be otherwise unsatisfied by the Romanian media, but it also delivers what’s necessary for a democratic society. In light of today’s event, I wish to thank you again for the award”, Ponta said in the message.
State counselor Luminita Odobescu – ‘Romanian Diplomat of the Year’
The Director of the newspaper continued the ceremony with the ‘Romanian diplomat of the year’ Award, which was offered to state counselor Luminita Odobescu, former state secretary with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As the novelty of this edition of the gala, the prize was offered for the first time to a female diplomat. “Thank you very much, I am extremely honoured. It rewards the European Affairs team of the MAE, a very dynamic team, like all our colleagues that represented the country abroad, in Brussels or in other embassies throughout the world, and this is an opportunity for me to thank them, because their work is not always very visible. But I can assure you that, every once in a while, and even more often, at 8 PM you will find young colleagues working at the MAE, making sure that our position is completely represented in Brussels. Thank you very much!”
H.E Andreas von Mettenheim, Ambassador of Germany:
‘My time in Romania, the most rewarding period in my career’
The ‘Foreign Diplomat of the Year’ Award was granted to His Excellency Andreas von Mettenheim, the Ambassador of Germany in Bucharest. The choice was simple, Radu Bogdan said, as all the members of the jury agreed this award had to go to the German Ambassador.
“It’s a great honour for me to be awarded in such a way. A diplomat’s job is not to make foreign policy but to carry it out. Yet, I am happy to observe that in Bucharest open words are not perceived as patronizing, but are rather welcome because they offer the chance of further progress on the path of transformation. Transformation must remain on top of the agenda if we all, together, want to be fit to deal with Europe’s biggest crisis in its history and to face global challenges. I know that most probably this award has more to do with the German-Romanian relationship than with me personally, which makes it even easier for me to accept it’, the Ambassador said.
“Our relationship is about political understanding, sustainable economic cooperation and intensive cultural ties. As regards the economic cooperation: It is only because I am an extraordinarily modest person that I have not intervened in Nine O’Clocks apparently unsuccessful search for a Foreign Investor of the year. My suggestion would have come easily. Since the task of helping to further our bilateral relations falls on two embassies, I would also like to mention the Romanian Embassy in Berlin under the energetic guidance of my good friend Ambassador Lazar Comanescu. My time in Romania turns out to be the most rewarding period in my career. My gratitude, first and foremost, goes to the MAE with its utterly professional staff. I am sure that the jury has found the right Romanian diplomat of the year who, if I had a say, would have to combine charm, compassion, strong European convictions and a clear vision of Romania’s long term interest. Not easy, but not impossible. My gratitude also goes to my colleagues in the Diplomatic Corps with whom I so often work hand in hand. Finally, my thanks go to my own staff who has engaged the German Ambassador in creative projects hitherto unknown to him, but for which he takes the credit in public. That’s life. However, the longer I talk, the idea grows on me that I really deserve the award. So I should stop in order not to disturb the enchanting spell of the moment. My best wishes go to Nine O’Clock, a truly balanced newspaper and my faithful companion at the breakfast table”, Ambassador Mettenheim concluded.
Radu Bogdan also greeted the former president of Romania, Emil Constantinescu, who said during a past gala of Nine O’Clock: “If you want to know what is going on in Romania, learn English and read the Nine O’Clock.”
Bank of the Year 2012: Raiffeisen Bank
Another award granted each year by the Nine O’Clock is the ‘Bank of the Year.’ “Following deliberation by the members of the jury, we decided to grant this award for 2012 to Raiffeisen Bank, for improving its efficiency, as well as the products and services of the bank in the difficult conditions of the market.” The award was received by the President of Raiffeisen Bank Romania, Mr. Steven van Groningen: “Thank you very much for the award. I think your newspaper is very important for Romania and its society and I am very pleased to receive this award and I think it shows that in Romania you can be successful and profitable.”
Banker of the Year 2012: Sergiu Oprescu, Executive President Alpha Bank
The next award was the ‘Banker of the Year 2012.’ “This year, the jury chose Mr. Sergiu Oprescu, the Executive President of Alpha Bank Romania, for promoting the concept of <bank anytime, anywhere> by developing the online banking services, the opportunity to model the customer-bank relation.”
“I am very pleased to be here tonight, on the occasion of this event which Nine O’Clock is organising for so many years, especially during these last years which – we all know – were years of crisis and it was no easy task to organise such an event. I was saying that I am most honoured to receive this award, first because – although it is an individually granted prize – I think that, in fact, it is an award for the teams. So I am extremely honoured to receive this award on behalf of my team. Currently, the financial-banking system in Romania and beyond should make efforts to increase its transparency and get closer to the customer, which we tried to do through our services. Once again, let me thank you for this award and wish success to the Nine O’Clock daily.”
Romanian Businessman of Year 2012: Iuliean Hornet, president ecoHORNET
The granting of the ‘Romanian Businessman of the Year’ award was preceded by a long assessment. Eventually, the decision has been made: Iuliean Hornet, president of EcoHORNET. “I must confess that I am most honoured by this nomination and I appreciate this awarding as a coronation of the effort and results achieved during 40 years of activity in invention and innovation. I remember my first patent, registered in 1973, for military technology – Shooting device for blank cartridges with DT and DTM machine guns on the T34 tank, used by the Warsaw Treaty for the training of troops. The research and experiments of the last 8 years had as result the best biomass burning technology, the ecoHORNET technology patented in Romania.
This new technology, awaited for over 40 years, consists in burning the biomass by incineration, at temperatures above 1250 degrees, without smoke in the gas emissions, without tar deposits (creosote), with polluting emissions at the level required for the next decades, with thermal yields between 94-97 pc and a burning yield of 100 pc.
By implementing this new technology in the manufacturing process I created 3 products under the ecoHORNET brand which have an exceptional performance, and they gained their place today on the local market and especially on foreign ones. Austria, England, Germany, Ireland, Japan are countries where the ecoHORNET technology is used today.
Developed countries of Europe, like England, Austria, Germany, Sweden etc. make commendable efforts to implement this alternative of green energy. On this occasion, I commend the British government for the programme of subsidies granted over a 20-year period to the producers of green energy from biomass and for the encouraging quantum of this programme.
I thank the Nine O’Clock daily for the fact that it exists, as these awards motivate us and oblige us to keep on; I wish the entire personnel a long life, success and good health. Good health, power to work and much success to all the participants in this event”, Iuliean Hornet said.
NOERR, ‘Law firm of the Year’
The “Law Firm of the Year 2012″ award was handed out to NOERR for assisting the biggest investments and projects in recent years, especially in the greenfield, state aid and real-estate areas, for actively participating in the reindustrialisation of Romania and creating over 4,000 jobs.
Picking up the award, Prof. Dr. Jörg K. Menzer, Managing Partner and Head of the Bucharest office of Noerr, admitted that Nine O’Clock was one of the first newspapers he read when arriving in Romania and will continue to do so. “This prize is won by the team. All my Romanian colleagues work very hard every day to create and to maintain the trust of foreign investors and local businessmen in Romania, which is not always easy. We are very happy to contribute to the positive development of Romania,” Mr. Menzer said.
ASIROM, ‘Insurance Company of the Year’
As happened in 2011, the “Insurance Company of the Year 2012” award was handed out to ASIROM – VIENNA INSURANCE GROUP (VIG) for an excellent strategy and for providing premium services in a difficult economic environment. Dragos Calin, Executive Director at Asirom VIG, stated that sustained daily efforts are made in order for Asirom to remain a market leader during such a difficult period, thanking Nine O’Clock for the second award.
Special Award went to EximBank
The Awards gala ended with the handing out of three special awards. Winner of the “Bank of the Year” award the previous edition, EximBank received the Special Award for the products package aimed at supporting the expansion of Romanian exporters on non-EU markets. Attending the Nine O’Clock event for the first time as President of EximBank, Traian Halalai declared: “Emerging markets as well as developing ones offer consistent business opportunities that could be profitably used by Romanian exporters, even taking higher risks, and EximBank offers instruments able to support this effort.” ”Taking into account the fact that macroeconomic studies show that for Eastern European countries waiting for the Euro zone – as traditional trade partner - recovery becomes more and more riskier, I consider it is important for Romanian exporters to find new opportunities outside this area. EximBank products can contribute to the success of their quest and this is the reason we decided to become more dynamic in order to be able to support the expansion abroad of more and more Romanian companies”, Traian Halalai concluded.
Peter Simon ABB Country Manager granted The Excellence Award
The Excellence Award was handed out to Peter Simon, Country Manager ABB Romania, for 18 years of activity on the local market. “I always got information from friends, colleagues, on interpreting politics, what’s ongoing… Then, I read Nine O’Clock in order to really find out the truth”, Mr. Simon, who will leave the country in mid-2013, said.
GARANTI BANK, awarded for inovative ATM services
Another Special Award was handed out to GARANTI BANK Romania for the complexity of the transactions its clients and non-clients did at the bank’s ATMs. The award was picked up by Ufuk Tandogan, General Manager Garanti Bank Romaina.
The evening ended with a thrilling recital given by minstrel Ion Popa.