Banking on global interaction

Lado Gurgenidze
Managing Director
Technology Corporate Finance
London, England

Lado Gurgenidze ‘93MBA needs his espresso. As the managing director of Technology Corporate Finance at ABN AMRO, a prominent international bank in London, Gurgenidze sleeps, on average, less than five hours a night—apparently the norm for a mergers and acquisitions banker.

Working with both large corporate clients (Reuters, SWIFT, Sybase) and leading growth companies (i-Flex, Odyssey, MoneyLine Telerate), Gurgenidze's focus is building ABN AMRO's advisory franchise in the financial technology sector. Before taking his current position in November 2000, Gurgenidze was ABN AMRO's head of Mergers & Acquisitions in Emerging European markets, executing mandates for the likes of Marconi plc, News Corp, Global One, Golden Telecom and Andrew Corporation.

The Soviet Georgia-born, London-based Gurgenidze helped ABN AMRO establish a market-dominant transactions pipeline in Russia, and, as a result, ABN AMRO was awarded the Best M&A House in Russia Euromoney Award for Excellence in 2001. ABN AMRO ranks 22nd in the world with more than 3,400 branches in more than sixty countries.

Gurgenidze travels constantly. He jets from London to Milan, Italy, then to Scandinavia, and onto countries throughout Europe and abroad. He usually takes one to two short European daytrips per week, plus a trip to the United States once a month. A typical day begins with a car service picking him up at 6:45 a.m. to whisk him off to Heathrow, and ends with Gurgenidze checking e-mails and researching clients into the wee hours of the morning.

The biggest challenge of Gurgenidze’s job: “It’s making, for the most part, correct decisions on the fly with imperfect information at my disposal,” he says. What he enjoys most about his job includes concluding a negotiations’ round successfully, making a well-timed call about strategic/transactional intentions of a company in his sector, and seeing his younger colleagues grow professionally.

It’s difficult to believe that Gurgenidze has younger colleagues, as he was merely twenty-two years old when he graduated from Goizueta in 1993. “With the benefit of hindsight, this is not such a great thing (to graduate so young), even if it sounds impressive,” he notes. “I didn’t have enough life/work experience to fully benefit from the program.”

Gurgenidze credits Goizueta with helping him to “think in terms of certain categories, such as shareholder value and opportunity cost,” which eased his entry into the investment banking world. Jeffrey Rosensweig’s “Global Perspectives” class sticks in Gurgenidze’s mind, too. “It was very helpful to observe a large group of people trying to deal with important issues on a global scale.”

Gurgenidze advises Goizueta students to “choose the line of business you will likely feel happy in professionally, personally, and financially in five years’ time—even if the business environment does not improve,” he says.—Allison Shirreffs

Photo: Lado Gurgenidze ’93MBA and wife Larissa visit Italy.