Nick Piazza, 33
One of two Chicagoans on our list, Nick Piazza’s self-described hobby is running BG Capital, an investment bank owned by the Bank of Georgia.
It’s a pastime he evidently loves. He turned it into a profit-making entity in just one year. He did it by piloting the company through the cataclysmic 2008: a five-day Russia-Georgia war, the global financial meltdown and stock market collapse.
“It was a great learning experience, rebuilding the company from scratch,” Piazza said.
Before joining BG Capital, Piazza was the director of corporate relations at Concorde Capital, coordinating departments in the company, including sales, research and corporate finance. He joined Concorde in 2006, soon after moving from Moscow.
Ukraine was always on his radar since he first visited the country in 2001. “I fell in love with the country immediately,” Piazza said. “Kyiv is a better place to live than Moscow. I really like the people. Muscovites are more closed and bellicose,” he said.
In Moscow, Piazza worked for various companies, including a stint teaching English and reporting for Interfax, a news wire agency. Piazza said he’s in Ukraine by choice.
“I feel very lucky. I’m here because this is where I really want to be. I think when I’ll look back, I’ll do it with pride, having contributed my small part to the development of these two very young countries (Georgia and Ukraine),” he said.
BG Capital’s current chief executive officer said he’s blessed to live and work in two of his three favorite countries, dividing time between Ukraine and Georgia.
“Italy is my other top-three country,” Piazza said who studied Roman history as an undergraduate at Lake Forest College in Illinois.
“I feel very lucky. I’m here because this is where I really want to be. I think when I’ll look back, I’ll do it with pride, having contributed my small part to the development of these two very young countries (Georgia and Ukraine).”
– Nick Piazza.
And unlike many in the flash-and-cash investment banking industry, Piazza shuns the limelight. He chooses the company he spends time with carefully and mostly keeps a low profile in Kyiv’s small expatriate community.
Today BG Capital has positioned itself to advance in a maturing market. Piazza said the emphasis is now to offer more quality and newer services.
It has some 50 employees and is poised to increase market share in the future.
On the corporate level, BG Capital helps raise money for an annual gala run by Nove Pokolinnya, an organization that improves the lives of Ukrainian orphans.
Piazza donates money and building materials to a Cherkassy school that teaches Georgian.
He sponsors study abroad scholarships to Georgia for the school’s best students.
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