Peter Vanhecke, 41
#6 Most Influential
Unlike many longtime expats on our list, Peter Vanhecke has only been in Ukraine permanently since early 2008.
But from the looks of it, he could be here for quite a while, given Ukraine’s huge development potential.
He came from Renaissance Capital’s Moscow office and is today the group’s chief executive officer in Ukraine, leading a team of 60 Kyiv-based professionals with industry-leading investment banking experience.
Vanhecke is also responsible for operations in Ukraine, Belarus and Eastern and Central Europe.
Since his arrival, Vanhecke said he is proud to have made the Kyiv office a full-fledged and broad service investment bank “rather than being a subsidiary or dependent on other offices.”
“Our bank is as local as a Ukrainian bank but still very global and we’re positioning ourselves as a leader in the mergers and acquisitions, debt service, initial public offering and research fields,” he told the Kyiv Post.
The Belgian national said he’s also proud to have not only survived the global financial crisis but also to have expanded during it.
He oversaw the opening of an office in Minsk in 2009 and the entrance to the Polish market in February.
Vanhecke, who boasts a law degree from the Leuven School of Law (Belgium), a master’s in law from Northwestern University in Chicago and a master’s in business administration from Columbia University in New York, said he enjoys taking part in charity activities organized by the local Belgian Embassy and the case-by-case projects his company tackles.
Renaissance Capital Ukraine recently provided aid to areas in Russia that suffered from the summer fires.
Vanhecke said Ukraine needs to be taken seriously as a separate market with its own dynamic. “It’s a big mistake to think this is a province of another country, to think it’s like Russia. There are similarities, but they are not the same,” he said.
Another bit of advice Vanhecke gives to investors is that in order to succeed in Ukraine one has to be entrenched and have an on-the-ground presence. “If you’re doing fly-in, fly-out business here, then you’re going about it wrong,” he said.