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January 26, 2023

‘Nine O’Clock 27 Years Awards Gala’

On Monday evening, the Nine O’Clock English-language daily, which this year celebrates 27 years since its first issue, organised the ‘Nine O’Clock 27 Years Awards Gala’ at the Intercontinental Hotel, personalities and companies that registered remarkable results in 2017 being awarded on this occasion.

This event was a new opportunity to meet our readers, friends, and partners without whose support our story on the Romanian media market would not have been possible all these years.

We take this opportunity to thank once again all those who supported us in organising this event.

Special thanks to the Allegretto Children’s Choir, winner of the Cultural Ambassadors of Romania Award, for their impeccable performance on the stage, for the extraordinary recital with which they thrilled the audience with song in 9 languages, for the warmth they brought in all our hearts on a freezing February evening.

We warmly thank the participants for their feedback and nice words, they honour and oblige us.

See you all at the next event.


‘Romania’s Cultural Ambassadors’ Special Award was conferred upon


For remarkable artistic results obtained at prestigious national and international competitions and festivals, confirmed through a rich record of more than 40 prestigious awards; for the rich repertoire that currently totals more than 80 songs sung in 20 languages; for raising Romania’s artistic and cultural prestige during its 44 years of existence, during which time they have always won the audience’s sympathy and appreciation

‘Foreign Ambassador of the Year 2017’ Award was conferred upon


The Republic of Moldova’s Ambassador to Romania

For the remarkable efforts to develop and deepen the Strategic Partnership between Romania and the Republic of Moldova; for the advancement of his country’s European path; for his contribution to the creation of a favourable climate for the intensification of relations between Bucharest and Chisinau, being involved in a series of projects and diplomatic actions having a special impact on the dynamic of bilateral relations

Moldovan Ambassador to Romania, Mihai Gribincea: The award is a recognition of the effort of my embassy for bringing the two countries closer

“It is a great honor and responsibility for me to receive this award. I think it is a proof and a recognition of the effort of the whole embassy team for what we are doing to bring the two Prut banks closer both from economic, political and other standpoints. Probably it is natural to do this. We are a nation, we speak a language, we have a common history, and I very much hope that we will have a future together,” said the Moldovan ambassador to Romania.


‘Romanian Ambassador of the Year 2017’ Award was conferred upon


Romanian Ambassador to the French Republic

For the special contribution to imparting an even stronger dynamic on the development of Romanian-French relations, primarily on the plane of high-level political dialogue; for the actions and projects he initiated or was involved in, and which were liable to generate important PR benefits for Romanian diplomacy, conferring added visibility to Romania during a period that is so relevant for the future of Europe


Romania’s Ambassador to France Luca Niculescu: We have a very rich, diverse, very old and very intense relation with France


“I am very honoured. Congratulations for what you have been doing for 27 years. You have courage this year because you have awarded an ambassador who is not a career diplomat. We have a very rich, diverse, very old and very intense relationship with France, which we are trying together with our colleague Michele Ramis, the Ambassador of France to Romania, to make every day more dynamic and more interesting and, thank God, we have a lot to do because next year will be a very busy year: the Romania-France cultural season, the Centennial, and obviously Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. I would like once again to thank the entire team of the embassy, I would like to thank the Presidency and the Government, and last but not least special thanks go to Mr. Lazar Comanescu (former Minister of Foreign Affairs who was present among the guests).

I would like, if you allow me, to dedicate this award to my mother’s memory, who passed away a few days ago and who, I am sure, as any mother, would be very proud to see me here today,” said Romania’s Ambassador to France Luca Niculescu.


Excellence Award for Public Initiatives with an Impact on Society was conferred upon

Coalitia pentru Dezvoltarea Romaniei (Coalition for the Development of Romania)

In recognition of the important role this organisation plays as the main source of expertise in consultations with decision-making factors from public institutions, over crucial topics that have a major impact on the Romanian economic and business climate; for the sustained efforts made in 2017 in order to lift the level of awareness of the effects that the Government’s fiscal policies have on economic and social stability; for promoting the most timely and efficient measures for the business sector


“The Banker of the Year 2017” Award went to

Mr. Ufuk Tandogan, CEO of GARANTI BANK Romania

for the efforts aimed at consolidating Garanti Bank’s position on the market in 2017, as a trusted financial partner for its clients and local economy, as a dynamic, solid, and profitable bank by developing and implementing a sound strategy and an efficient business activity, which led to the achievement of the best results in the last 20 years, since it started operations in Romania.


“I wish to dedicate this award to each and every  Garanti Bank member. They are all Bankers of the Year”


“It is an honour to receive “The Banker of the Year” Award. I wish to dedicate this award to each and every Garanti Bank members. They are all Bankers of the Year to me, and their talent, dedication and hard work are the ones that have made Garanti Bank one of the most dynamic and innovative banks in Romania,” said Ufuk Tandogan.

‘Foreign Banker with Longest Stint in Romania’ Special Award was conferred upon

Mr Steven van Groningen

President & CEO Raiffeisen Bank Romania

For his remarkable contribution over the years to the consolidation of a strong and credible banking sector in Romania, for special results obtained alongside his team in 2017, results that have consolidated Raiffeisen Bank’s position on the Romanian financial market, for his permanent preoccupation to diversify and modernise the portfolio of banking services offered to clients


“I love being in Romania, I love Romania and if there are results it’s even nicer”


“Thank you very much for the award you’ve given me. It’s a very nice award that I get for the Longest Stint in Romania and here I feel the need to explain a little bit: I love being in Romania, I love Romania and if there are results it’s even nicer. But my story with Romania begins much earlier than that, more than 17 years by now. The first time I came to Romania, in 1993, I was  a faithful reader of Nine O’Clock, of course, and I’m happy to see that Nine O’Clock and Radu Bogdan did not make any compromise when it came to the values which are so important for the media. I am happy for Nine O’Clock, for its longevity and I hope it has a long future ahead of it because I would be very happy to continue to read it. Thank you very much,” stated Steven van Groeningen.


Excellence Award for Contribution to the Consolidation of the Business Community was conferred upon


Chairman of the Bucharest Municipality’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry

For the steadfastness, consistency and passion shown in promoting the Romanian offer abroad and lowering the competitiveness gap that Romania registers compared to Western and even Central-European economies, for the efforts made to identify measures to stimulate the economic environment


Professor Ion Hohan, CCIB Vice President: We would like to take this opportunity and redefine ourselves in order to provide better support for our members


“Distinguish President Constantinescu, distinguished audience and distinguished director of the Nine O’Clock. As Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bucharest, I’m deeply honoured to receive this award on behalf of Mr. Sorin Dimitriu. We are very honoured, the award is addressed to both Mr Sorin Dimitriu and the Chamber of Commerce as a whole. I would like to take this opportunity and tell you that this year we celebrate 150 years of existence, we are the oldest Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania. We would like to take this opportunity and redefine ourselves in order to provide better support for our members. Thank you very much”.


Excellence Award was conferred upon


For consolidating its market leadership position on the market of BMW dealerships, and for the exceptional results registered in 2017, which took concrete shape in record sales; for the growth and permanent diversification of its portfolio of premium services on the Romanian auto market; for constant preoccupation and care shown toward the environment through the promotion of electric and plug-in hybrid automobiles; for the strategy of successful investments that have raised the standard of the relevant market; for active involvement in supporting culture and sport


“We are especially honoured”


“I would like to thank you for this award, we are especially honoured. I would like to thank you on behalf of our Chairman Mr. Michael Schmidt who would have liked to attend this ceremony but unfortunately was unable to. I would like to thank you very much and wish you a most pleasant evening,” said Aniela Antohi, Marketing Manager Automobile Bavaria Group



‘Foreign Investor of the Year 2017’ Excellence Award was conferred upon


For consolidating its leadership position on the Romanian retail market in 2017, for its constant preoccupation to encourage local production, through the constant policy of identifying sustainable partnership with suppliers; for the continuous diversification of its portfolio of products in view of obtaining a high degree of client satisfaction; for the successful strategy on the plane of investments and expansion of activity, which took concrete shape also through the creation of an important number of jobs


Valer Hancas, Corporate Affairs & Communications Manager Kaufland Romania: This award makes us more responsible when it comes to the sustainable development of Romania


“I am very happy to receive this award. I didn’t think that I could make it because of the weather, but here I am. I would like to say many happy returns to Nine O’Clock, it is an important celebration, I hope we will be here to celebrate its 30 years, why not? This year in Romania and not only here, it seems that many companies celebrate several years of existence, and Kaufland this year celebrates 50 years in Europe. Our history in Romania begins in 2004, when we tried to offer the Romanian consumers various choices on our shelves. We wanted them to decide whether to buy Romanian or to buy more European products, and today we can simply say with pride that we are happy that more than 50% of our products are Romanian, made in Romania, using raw material from Romania and labour from Romania as well. I would like to dedicate this award to those 30.000 hands who work for you daily in Romania. As you know we are one of the largest employers in Romania, therefore this award involves us and makes us more responsible towards social media, towards the social environment, towards the community, and why not, it also makes us more responsible when it comes to the sustainable development of Romania”.



“The Real Estate Developer of the Year 2017” Award went to


as a recognition of its permanent efforts for a continuous diversification of its portfolio consisting of shopping malls, business and office parks, retail properties and large-scale residential and mixed-use developments, for the permanent focus on design and construction of green buildings using modern technologies with a minimum impact on the environment


David Hay, CEO Afi Europe Romania : We have great plans for new projects in Romania


“Thank you very much Nine O’Clock for this honour, on behalf of myself, the management, and all the employees of Afi Europe. Afi Europe has been in Romania since 2005, we are growing every year and we hope to continue to do so in the near future. We have great plans for new projects in Romania. This year we will start our first large scale residential project of 2,000 units, and we continue our development. It is not only for our benefit, for the benefit of our shareholders, I think it is also for the benefit of this really great country and great people. Thank you everybody, thank you to our great employees and all our partners, our banks, our retailers, the office tenants, thank you very much”


“The Best Insurer of the Year 2017” Award went to

Mr. Francois Coste, CEO at Groupama Asigurari Romania

President of CCIFER (French Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Romania)

for the outstanding results achieved by Groupama Asigurari Romania under his leadership in 2017, for the permanent efforts to improve the services ‘ quality  and diversify the portfolio of  flexible products provided by the company to its clients, for the Top Employer in Romania certification, as well as for his outstanding contribution  in his capacity as the CCIFER President, to the development of the French-Romanian economic relations.


Excellence in Business Award was conferred upon

Mrs Dana Gruia Dufaut

In her capacity as founder of one of the first cabinets specialising in business law in Romania, for the successful and professional implementation, alongside her team, of major legal consultancy projects on the relevant market, but also for her remarkable contribution to the dynamic development of French-Romanian relations

Argentina Traicu picked up the award on behalf of Mrs Dana Gruia Dufaut : You represent a landmark for Romanian media, which unfortunately sells itself so easily and loses the freedom for which it paid such a high price


“I am not Mrs. Gruia Dufaut, I am one of her co-workers and I am here to thank you and to convey Mrs. Dana Gruia Dufaut’s message of appreciation for your work. I must confess that when I came to collect this award I was thinking what connects you to Mrs. Dana Gruia Dufaut and I realized that it’s not only the year 1991 when she set up the first French law firms in Romania, but, just as she did, you also continued to deepen the French-Romanian relations through businesses. And another thing that ties you to Mrs. Dufaut is your passion, the fact that you are very tenacious and the fact that you represent a landmark for Romanian media, which unfortunately sells itself so easily and loses the freedom for which it paid such a high price. You are an example of integrity and professionalism and we are deeply honoured that you selected our law firm for this award”.


Excellence Award in the ‘Impactful Social Responsibility’ Section was conferred upon


For the impact of the ‘Connecting for Good’ National Strategic Programme, which has had over 40,000 beneficiaries at national level via the financing of 55 projects with more than EUR 4 million during the 6 years since its launch; for the constant efforts made in the 20 years of existence, in the service of changing the life of the community for the better; for the development and support of projects that entail the use of mobile technology and significant investments in priority domains such as healthcare and education, which equally sought to improve the lives of people but also to render the community sensitive toward the problems of least favoured persons

Anca Lazar, Project Coordinator, Vodafone Foundation: Doing good to others is normal

“It’s an award that represents, gives value to our projects for least favoured communities throughout the country. It’s an award we receive with a lot of modesty, because doing good to others is normal.

We believe that the moment each of us considers that getting involved, donating, sharing are natural things, and not exceptions worthy of praise, only then will the quality of our lives improve.

We want to inspire as many persons as possible to see the act of doing good to others as being something natural, part of the routine and normality. We thank you very much”.


Excellence Award in the ‘Successful e-commerce strategy’ category was conferred upon


For consolidating its e-commerce market leadership position in Romania in 2017; for the constant preoccupation oriented toward the continued diversification of its products portfolio and investment strategy, which has contributed in recent years to the growth of the profile market, but also to imparting standards of high quality in e-commerce and the obtainment of a degree of client satisfaction


The award granted to eMag was picked up by Victor Lefter, Public Relations Consultant Smart Point: This award is very important for us


“I am sorry to say that Mr. Iulian Stanciu is not here to receive the award in person, but you know how it is in the e-commerce business, you don’t have a fixed work schedule. I would like to thank you on behalf of the thousands of categories of eMAG clients for giving me this award, which truly turned us, as you rightly said, into a landmark for e-commerce. I would also like to thank you for your votes, those of you who voted eMAG as the leader of the Romanian e-commerce market. It started out as a game, but now it’s a very serious establishment, that basically sets the top trend in the e-commerce domain. This award is very important for us”.



Excellence Award was conferred upon



In recognition of the permanent efforts made at the helm of the Bucharest City Hall team in order to identify and render concrete projects meant to constantly improve the quality of standards Bucharesters benefit from to live in a green, clean and modern city; for active involvement in the life of the community; for her contribution to the safeguarding of the historical and cultural heritage and to putting the Capital of Romania on the map in what concerns the hosting of important cultural and sport events

Mrs. Gabriela Firea’s award was picked up by one of her main collaborators, who conveyed her thanks


“Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, it is an honour for me to accept this award on behalf of Mrs. Gabriela Firea. She would have liked to be present, but today there was a ceremony in which she awarded Simona Halep the Honour of Citizen of Bucharest. Then she had to attend a meeting focusing on the weather situation, which you can all see it is not very nice today. Mrs Firea asked me to convey a message of appreciation to you Mr. Bogdan for the award you have conferred upon her, it is especially important for Mrs Firea because it comes from former colleagues. She wanted me to thank you for the motivation for this award and to wish you a lot of success from now on”.


Excellence Award was conferred upon


For the record results and remarkable performances registered in 2017, for the confirmed dynamism on the Romanian market but also on international markets, for the development and investment strategy that has constantly led to the consolidation of the prestige that this company has been affirming year after year among the large European and global auto manufacturers


This Gala event was possible thanks to the involvement of our sponsors and partners, to whom we convey our gratitude for their support:

Asociatia Environ, Alexandrion, Engie, Raiffeisen Bank, Hotel Intercontinental

Photos by Ionut Dobre










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