2013 EMEA judging panel

Best in Biz Awards 2013 EMEA judging panel included high-caliber judges from top-tier business, finance and technology publications, newspapers and broadcast outlets. 20 judges confirmed their participation in this year’s program, from 10 countries, including Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.

Best in Biz Awards 2013 EMEA judging panel included:


ARD (Germany)

Dominique Lars Ziesemer

DOMINIQUE L. ZIESEMER has worked in television for nearly 20 years. For six years, he has been the presenter of a TV advice magazine about consumer technology products, including mobile phones as well as security systems, in the most widely broadcasted German TV channel ARD. Today, he continues to produce TV shows and develop new formats. In 2009 he was a member of the jury of the famous Rose D’Or Festival. He also represented various large organizations like the Frauenhofer Institut at fairs. He graduated from Mainz University with a research thesis about people’s “zapping” behavior.

Banking & Finance Magazine (Belgium and Netherlands)

Richard Neve

RICHARD NEVE is editor-in-chief of the Benelux trade magazine Banking & Finance. Richard started his career as a journalist in 1985 at a daily newspaper, and continued working for various magazines, always with a financial focus. Due to the business critical nature of IT in the financial services industry, Richard has always had a keen eye for the latest developments in information technology. Richard studied Literature Science at Leiden University.
Richard Neve

BBC Radio Leeds (United Kingdom)

Barrie Pepper

BARRIE PEPPER is one of Britain’s leading beer writers and for seven years was chairman of the British Guild of Beer Writers. He has been recognised five times in the Guild’s Beer Writer of the Year awards and was the first recipient of the Guild’s Special Award for services to beer writing. His journalist work includes writing for What’s Brewing, First Draught, Wine and Spirit International, Beers of the World and several other newspapers and journals in Britain and throughout the world. He has written 18 books on pubs and beer and is currently working on an cultural anthology on brewing and pubs in Yorkshire. For eleven years he produced and occasionally presented the popular What’s Brewing programme on BBC Radio Leeds and has also made television programmes for Channel 4 and BBC North. Barrie occasionally lectures on the History of Brewing, has judged in the Brewing Industry International Awards and CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain competition and was a member of Leeds City Council for ten years.
Barrie Pepper

Branders (Switzerland)

Olivia El Sayed

OLIVIA EL SAYED studied German and French at the University of London. Initially employed by a music label in Germany, she started her editorial career at a radio station and later worked as an editor for various online media for almost 10 years. Starting with the Zurich-based branding agency Branders in 2008, she assumed responsibility as editorial manager of The Brander publication effective January, 2011. On www.thebrander.com she features a steady flow of new stories about brands and their creators, generated by herself and a team of renowned journalists and photographers.

Business Breakfast (United Arab Emirates)

Brandy Scott

Radio presenter BRANDY SCOTT co-hosts The Business Breakfast – Dubai Eye 103.8’s award-winning flagship morning show. Her 12 years in Dubai have seen her work across a number of magazines, newspapers and broadcast media.

Emirates247 (United Arab Emirates)

Roopesh Raj

A veteran journalist with over 15 years’ experience, ROOPESH RAJ is in charge of operations, production and content delivery at emirates247.com. Hailing from a print background, Roopesh, in India and the UAE, has edited daily and business titles across a resume that boasts successful start-ups and marquee mastheads. Roopesh’s conversion to the dynamic challenge that the online avatar of news reportage offers came two years ago when Dubai Media Incorporated, a wholly owned government entity, launched emirates247.com. Apart from being a columnist of some repute, Roopesh is now Deputy Managing Editor at emirates247.com, driving the hottest new website on the Gulf news and media scene. He can also be regularly found offering his insights on current affairs on the Dubai One TV channel.
Roopesh Raj

HTMobile (Israel)

Zvi Wrobel

ZVI WROBEL is the senior editor, with more than 10 years of experience, at HTIsrael group, the home for the largest technical consumer electronics centered community in Israel. HTIsrael group consists of the following websites: Hometheater, the largest online Audio & Video magazine in Israel; HTmobile, the fastest growing website about mobile technology; Userit, technology-related magazine written by women for women; HTcafé, the most professional magazine in Israel about coffee, espresso, milk; HThome, the Smart-Home and Connected Home magazine; HTphoto, the photography magazine; HTTV, the Next-Generation TV magazine and HTmag, a men’s magazine about technology and leisure. Besides, Zvi is the CEO of the i-Apps College, a Mobile Applications Design and Development College. Zvi graduated with a degree in Computers and Control from Tel-Aviv University.
Zvi Wrobel

IAA Magazine (United Arab Emirates)

Manjula Ramakrishnan

MANJULA RAMAKRISHNAN is former editor of the magazines Business Quality Review and Dubai Rotary in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In her career spanning 25 years, Manjula has written well over 3000 articles on a variety of subjects. She is currently editor for the UAE-IAA (Internal Audit Association) Magazine and also contributes articles on Fashion, Automobiles, and Lifestyle for Durrah Magazine in Bahrain. She writes on local events for Panorama Magazine, Sharjah. Besides, she is also co-founder of the online portal www.mrwebedit.com.

IAfrica (South Africa)

Nikki Cockcroft

NIKKI COCKCROFT started her career as IT manager and later campaign manager at Acceleration, joining 365 Digital in March 2003 and progressing through the ranks to become CEO. As CEO, she successfully introduced business areas such as web development, ad operations and content syndication, built 365 Digital into a profitable business and oversaw a successful management buyout and subsequent sale to Primedia. Nikki was appointed as CEO of Primedia Online – which includes iafrica.com, the 365 sports brands and 365 Digital – a year later in September 2007. In 2010 Nikki added to her role through appointment as CEO of Prezence Digital. In July 2011, Nikki moved to retail giant Woolworths as Head of Online, in line with her strategy to adapt South African businesses to a digital future. Nikki has been a member of the DMMA for the past nine years, and has sat on the DMMA EXCO for the past four of these. In 2009 Nikki was appointed as Chair of the Bookmarks Awards, in 2011 she was elected as Chairwoman of both the Bookmarks Awards and the DMMA, and re-elected again in 2012. Nikki graduated from UCT with a business degree in Information Systems and a postgraduate diploma in Marketing.
Nikki Cockcroft

Irish Independent (Ireland)

Martina Devlin

MARTINA DEVLIN is an award-winning Irish journalist and author, with more than 20 years of experience. Her books include the number one bestseller Banksters, a co-authored account of the Irish banking collapse, and Ship of Dreams, a novel about the Titanic – inspired by a family connection with the disaster. She won the 2012 VS Pritchett short story prize awarded by Britain’s Royal Society of Literature. Martina is based in Dublin, where she writes a weekly column on current affairs for the Irish Independent, and in 2011 was named columnist of the year. She also contributes short stories and essays to RTE Radio 1’s Sunday Miscellany, and in 2009 was writer-in-residence at the Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco. Her website is www.martinadevlin.com and she also tweets @DevlinMartina.

IT Web (South Africa)

Kathryn McConnachie

KATHRYN MCCONNACHIE is the digital media editor for ITWeb Online in South Africa. ITWeb is the oldest technology and business news web site in the country. Kathryn focuses on covering all things to do with social media, the internet and mobile innovation, while maintaining a primary interest in the use of media and technology for social change. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Rhodes University, and specialised in new media and communication design while also majoring in philosophy.

Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates)

Issac John

ISSAC JOHN, associate editor, business, of Khaleej Times, is a leading business journalist and economic analyst. A seasoned stalwart in Gulf’s mainstream journalism for 32 years, Issac is the senior-most Indian journalist, in terms of Gulf experience, working in the UAE. He had worked with Gulf News and Emirates News before joining Khaleej Times in 1992. Issac is acclaimed for his invigorating and insightful analysis of global and regional business and economic issues and trends and has won three pan-Arab media awards besides over a dozen prestigious accolades, including the Asian Achiever Award, Pravasi Ratna, recognition for outstanding media services from Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin and World Malayalee Council and the Malaysian Business Media Award from the Malaysian Business Council. Issac is also the founder president of Kalabhavan Global and Gulf Arts and Literary Academy, former president of All Kerala Colleges Alumini Forum, and chairman of GOPIO’s (Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin) Global Media Council. In May, 2012, he was elected as the Global Chairman of World Malayalee Council in Cologne.
Issac John

Micro Mart (United Kingdom)

Kevin Pocock

KEVIN POCOCK is a writer, editor, freelance journalist and poet. The former deputy editor of Micro Mart, Kevin continues to contribute to magazine and has also written for industry-leading titles PC Pro, Custom PC, Computer Shopper and Computeractive. He has also penned articles for the entertainment site Den of Geek, and writes on the subjects of writing and poetry for Poejazzi. He holds a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from University of Wales.
Kevin Pocock

Newzglobe.com (United Arab Emirates)

Meraj Syed

MERAJ SYED is the founder and CEO of the online business publication Newzglobe.com. With over 20 years of experience in media, marketing and advertising, Meraj has been involved in numerous projects in the industry and has met good and great entrepreneurs with amazing ideas throughout the years. Meraj gives a monthly award on newzglobe.com to an entrepreneur who has done something extraordinary for the business community, with several thousand readers getting the chance to vote for their favorite entrepreneur each month.

PC Format (United Kingdom)

Catherine Hackforth

CAT HACKFORTH is the managing editor of Future Publishing’s computing titles in the UK, including PC Format, Windows 7: Help & Advice, and Windows: The Official Magazine. Cat has a particular interest in social media and online security. She has a BA in English from Bristol University and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism from Cardiff University.
Cat Hackforth

Sake24 (South Africa)

Nellie Brand-Jonker

NELLIE BRAND-JONKER is a specialist reporter with Sake24, a national business newspaper published in well-known and established regional newspapers in South Africa like Die Burger in Cape Town and Beeld in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Nellie has been a business journalist since 2002, in which time she has covered numerous sectors and companies in the retail, liquor, financial, agriculture and medical sector, most of which were listed on the JSE. Nellie also writes for Sake24 in Rapport, a Sunday newspaper distributed nationally. Sake24, Die Burger and Beeld are all part of Media24, a subsidiary of Naspers, the biggest media company in Africa.

Sky News (United Kingdom)

Ursula Errington

URSULA ERRINGTON has more than a decade of experience in the news business. Freelance broadcast journalist, she is perhaps best known as a business correspondent for Sky News, reporting breaking news and adding analysis for the channel’s TV, radio, online and iPad content. She also presents regional news programmes and short-form documentaries for the BBC. A regular guest presenter for current affairs programmes on Monocle 24 Radio, her shows focus on business and economics, from stories about start-ups with flair to the workings of global corporations. Before becoming a journalist, Ursula spent three years working in oil trading – first for Shell Trading and Shipping Company and then for the derivatives team at French bank, BNP Paribas. Ursula holds an MA Hons from Oxford University in English Literature and Language.
Ursula Errington

Tbreak Media (United Arab Emirates)

Hitesh Uchil

HITESH UCHIL started his career at the age of eighteen as a sub editor for the Khaleej Times. He later spent six years at ITP working on titles such as Time Out Dubai, ITP.net, Time Out Tickets, Ahlan! and Mumtazz. He founded Middle East Gamers, the region’s first video games website – a project that started off as a hobby only to soon turn into a commercial entity owing to the interest it received from the video game industry and advertisers in the region. Having kickstarted the project as editor, salesman, marketing manager, web developer and designer for ME Gamers, Hitesh now manages the Tbreak Media sales team.
Hitesh Uchil

The Engaging Brand (United Kingdom)

Anna Farmery

ANNA FARMERY is the host to The Engaging Brand podcast which has been nominated six years in a row for Best Business Podcast in the UK. She is also the managing director of The Engaging Brand, a social business consultancy. Anna is a chartered accountant with over 20 years of experience in the business world as a board director of global leading brands in the FMCG world. She also has a First Class honours degree in Law and is studying for a PhD in how emerging technology such as 3D printing will create the need for a new social business model.
Anna Farmery

Xbox Plus (Brazil)

Marcos A.T. Silva

MARCOS A.T. SILVA manages XboxPlus, a popular gaming website, where he oversees editorial coverage about games, as well as the gaming industry and technology, always with a critical eye to the market. Marcos has more than 15 years of experience in the industry and prior to Xbox Plus, he worked at his own IT technology company. Marcos started his career at Multiplic, an established Brazilian financial group. He graduated from UNICID University with a degree in marketing and advertising.