Secretary General, Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE)
Since September 2016, Boyana Achovski serves as Secretary General of Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE), the European association of gas transmission, gas storage and LNG regasification terminal operators. Prior to her current function, Ms. Achovski held the position of GIE Vice Executive Secretary for a period of 4 years. Before joining GIE, Boyana Achovski worked for Bulgartransgaz, the Bulgarian transmission and storage operator, where she led the Analysis and International Operations Division, managing the company’s undertakings relating to the European regulatory framework and European energy policy. Ms. Achovski graduated in International Economic Affairs, specialized in International Finance and holds a Master’s degree in Finance. Boyana Achovski was a Chair of GasNaturally Steering Committee from June 2017 to January 2018 and from July to December 2019.
Chief Operations Officer, NET4GAS, s.r.o.
Radek Benčík graduated from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the VUT in Brno and in 2005 successfully completed his MBA studies at the prestigious Nottingham Trent University.
He has worked since 2008 at Alstom, s.r.o., in the position of managing director and general director of Thermal Services for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and at the same time as member of the management for the Central Europe region. He implemented projects to reduce emissions from power plants and heating plants, for example for the ČEZ group in Prunéřov or for the Žilinská teplárenská in Slovakia. Before that, he was the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ŠKODA Praha, a.s., and at the same time CEO of ŠKODA Praha Invest, s.r.o. From 2001, he worked in the management of ŠKODA JS and subsequently as its CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors.
He became Chief operations officer and executive director of NET4GAS in 2011.
Secretary General, MARCOGAZ
Manuel Coxe is the Secretary General of MARCOGAZ, where he works very closely with the President, the Vice President and the Executive Board members while overseeing the daily management of the Secretariat.
With more than 20 years of professional experience in the energy sector, Manuel Coxe held different technical and management positions before joining MARCOGAZ. Manuel worked for European associations and intergovernmental organisations, power utility companies and academia, spanning different countries, including Portugal, Germany, United Arab Emirates and Belgium.
Power and gas systems management, energy policy and energy markets are among his interests and expertise.
His education background includes Energy Systems Engineering, Economics and Business Administration, Management Law and Communication, obtained, respectively, from University of Lisbon in Portugal, Durham University in the UK, Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, Harvard University in the US, and University of Western Ontario in Canada.
Lenka Kovačovská has graduated from the University of Economics (VŠE) in Prague. Between 2007 and 2013, she worked at ČEPS in the department responsible for strategy. In 2013, she started to work at the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT), where she was mainly in charge of the development of the National Energy Policy. From 2014, she coordinated international cooperation in energy on behalf of the MIT. She served as a Deputy Minister responsible for the energy sector from 2015 to 2017. At VŠE in Prague, she has headed The Institute of Energy Economics. Lenka has been the Executive Director of the Czech Gas Association since October 2018 till May 2022.
General Director, ENTSOG
Before joining ENTSOG in January 2022 as ENTSOG General Director, Piotr Kuś held the position of Deputy Director in the Development Division at GAZ-SYSTEM S.A., since January 2017. His main areas of responsibilities included international cooperation, institutional relations, cooperation with EU institutions and international trade organisations.
Between 2019 and 2021, Piotr was GIE Board Member acting as a sponsor of the CH4 Area. Since 2016, Piotr was a member of the GTE Executive Committee to supervise activities of future sustainable solutions in the natural gas infrastructure. Prior to that, between 2008 and 2016, Piotr was Director of the Brussels Office of GAZ-SYSTEM, in charge of managing the company’s EU affairs.
Before joining GAZ-SYSTEM in 2008, he was employed by the Polish Oil and Gas Company (PGNiG S.A.) and was seconded to its Representative Office in Brussels.
Piotr Kuś graduated from Warsaw School of Economics.
Deputy Minister for Energy at the Ministry of Industry and Trade
Mr. René Neděla graduated at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Czech Technical University, Masaryk Institute of Advanced Studies and Florence School of Regulation. Since 2011, he worked in the Energy Regulatory Office and he lectured at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Czech Technical University and at the Faculty of Engineering of the Czech University of Life Sciences (ČZU) Prague. He currently woks as the Deputy Minister for Energy at the Ministry of Industry and Trade and at the same time as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of ČEPS, a.s.
Director of Green transition & energy system integration, European Commission
Catharina Sikow-Magny joined the European Commission in 1997 and is currently the Director responsible for Green Transition and Energy System Integration in the Directorate General for Energy. Before that, she was the Head of Unit in charge of Consumers, Local Initiatives, Just Transition. Before that she was the Head of Unit responsible for Networks and Regional Initiatives. She has as well worked on international transport, trans-European network policy and financing, internalisation of external costs, and strategic policy research.
Before joining the Commission, Catharina Sikow-Magny was a team leader and chief economist in the private sector in Finland. She has also worked for the United Nations Development Programme in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She holds a Master of Economics degree from the Aalto University, Finland.
Secretary General, Eurogas
Dr Watson is the Secretary General of Eurogas, a role he has held since January 2019. Eurogas is the association representing the European gas wholesale, retail and distribution sectors.
Prior to taking the helm at Eurogas, Dr Watson was the Chief Executive Officer of SolarPower Europe, the European solar industry association. Before joining SolarPower Europe, Dr Watson worked as the Director of Public Affairs for Weber Shandwick, specialising in energy and trade policy. Before coming to Brussels, Dr Watson worked for the Commonwealth Secretariat on a European Commission project on trade and sustainable development based in Ethiopia. Earlier in his career James worked for various UK government bodies in London and worked as a lecturer in Environmental Law at the University of Manchester.
He holds a Ph.D in International Trade and Environmental Law from the University of Leeds, and is currently a Visiting Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Chairman of the Board of the Czech Gas Association
Martin Slabý has been serving as the Chairman of the Board of the Czech Gas Association since December 2018.
Chairman and CEO of Pražská plynárenská Distribuce, a.s.
He is a graduate of the Faculty of Civil Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague.
He has held technical and managerial positions at Tractebel and Gas de France (today ENGIE), and served as the investment manager of NET4GAS, the Czech transmission system operator.
Between 2015 and 2018, he was a member of the Coordination Committee and chairman of the Transmission Committee of the International Gas Union. Martin has been the Chairman and CEO of Pražská plynárenská Distribuce, a.s. since 2015.
Head of Strategy, NET4GAS, s.r.o.
Having started his professional career in the gas industry in the sales department of Transgas, a.s. in 2001, Michal continued in the same company, then RWE Transgas, a.s., focusing on Norwegian gas purchase. He has spent a considerable part of his career at E.ON in various positions, mainly in gas purchase. He focused primarily on storage capacity sales in MND Group for three years. Since 2016, he has been with NET4GAS, s.r.o., where he currently serves as the head of strategy.