Emilia I. Stefanova-Veleva - Honorary Board Member
Ms. Emilia Stefanova joined the Bulgarian Diplomatic Service in 1992. Her diplomatic work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been dedicated mainly to the Americas and Australasia. She served as Ambassador to the Commonwealth of Australia (2014-2018), non-resident Ambassador to New Zealand (2015-2018), Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Bulgarian Embassy in Havana and Deputy Head of Mission in Caracas and Ottawa.
Ms. Stefanova holds a master’s degree in Spanish Philology and Psychology (Summa Cum Laude) from the Sofia University Saint Clement Ohridsky. She graduated in International Relations from the Spanish Diplomatic School and attended a Specialization Course for Diplomats at the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi.
Her first professional experience was as a Professor in Spanish at the Iberoromanic Philology Cathedra of the Sofia University and at the Language Centre of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She has also served as an Interpreter, News Speaker and Correspondent at the Spanish Section of the Bulgarian National Radio. Founding member of the Hispanics Association in Bulgaria.
H.E. Arthur Spyrou - Ambassador to Greece, Bulgaria and Romania & Honorary Board Member
Mr Spyrou is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. He has previously served overseas as Chargé d’Affaires, Australian High Commission, Nauru; Counsellor, Australian High Commission, Kuala Lumpur; Olympics Attaché for the 2004 Athens Games; and Second Secretary and Deputy Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Australian Embassy Paris. In Canberra he has served with DFAT as Director, Management and Corporate Strategy Section; Director, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar Section; and Director, United Nations and Commonwealth Section.
Mr Spyrou holds a Master of Arts (Foreign Affairs and Trade) from Monash University; Bachelor of Laws, Sydney University/Utrecht University; and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Sydney University.
Joana Kehlibarova - CEO and Board Member
Mrs. Kehlibarova is a highly accomplished senior executive with a track record of achieving revenue, profit, and business growth objectives for small and large companies in rapidly changing environments. She combines deep-dive analysis with strategic thinking, operational excellence, and a commitment to customer success to drive results.
With extensive experience in business and manufacturing process systems, Mrs. Kehlibarova has a solid understanding of critical business drivers in key markets and industries. She has a proven track record of building high-performance teams, tackling critical problem areas, and delivering on customer commitments.
Mrs. Kehlibarova has achieved success across a range of industries including ICT, Information Technology, Mining & Metals, and Renewable Energy.
As Chair of the Board, she provides strategic direction and governance oversight, ensuring the continued success and viability of the organization.
Dimitar Stoimenov - Board Member
Mr. Stoimenov is a legal expert with a distinguished career spanning over two decades. He began his legal journey in Osnabrück, Germany in 2003, working alongside prominent lawyers from across Europe on the elaboration of a common European law of obligations.
Upon returning to Bulgaria in 2009, Mr. Stoimenov joined an international law firm, where he focused on consulting cross-border acquisitions and market entry of multinational companies. He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a local manager of the firm and leading one of its practice groups on a regional level from 2013 to 2017. His extensive experience in international trade and investment protection further fueled his passion for the field.
In 2017, Mr. Stoimenov established his own law practice, combining his managerial, legal, and research knowledge to serve a diverse range of international clients in Bulgaria and beyond.
Alongside his law practice, Mr. Stoimenov is also an accomplished academic, teaching law of obligations at the Legal Faculty of Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridksy" since 2010. He is also the author of several books and articles in the legal field, solidifying his reputation as a thought leader and expert in the industry.
Eric Durand - Board Member
Mr. Eric Durand is a seasoned professional with an extensive background in the wool manufacturing industry. Since 2004, he has been an integral part of Lempriere management, a leading Australian wool trading company. In 2013, Mr. Durand spearheaded a major project to relocate the early stage manufacturing of Lempriere from India and China to Bulgaria. His visionary leadership resulted in the successful construction and commissioning of a state-of-the-art factory in Sliven, Bulgaria, which currently employs 190 people. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the company, Mr. Durand established the commercial hub of Lempriere for Europe in Sofia in December 2017.
Nikolay Bogdanov - Executive Assistant
Nikolay Bogdanov is an undergraduate student of sociology and political sciences at the Humboldt University of Berlin. Mr. Bogdanov is focused on the vast field of international relations and comparative political analysis. He did two internships as a credit analyst and as a marketing and communications analyst at two major Bulgarian banks. Nikolay is a young, talented, and energetic individual with strong passion to serve and support BABC.