Special Guest Speakers

Sebastian Rennack

Senior Retail Analyst for Central & Eastern Europe, Lebensmittel Zeitung

Sebastian Rennack covers the CEE & SEE country markets at Lebensmittel Zeitung (LZ), the leading German weekly publication for the FMCG and food retail sector.


As a German expatriate who has been working and living for more than 15 years in the region, he provides deep market insights that combine strategic perspective, analytical data and practical shop-floor experience.


Sebastian held various retail operations and project management roles for Metro Group and Schwarz Group in Poland, Russia and Ukraine. With his market expertise he contributed to organisational build-up and the development of national sales concepts, for big box as well as for discounting formats.


Sebastian obtained his master degree in Business Administration (Diplom-Kaufmann) at the University of Passau and also studied at the State University of Management in Moscow.




Lovro Verhovšek

Manager Strategy & Operations - Retail Expert, Deloitte

Lovro is an experienced manager coming from retail industry. Areas of expertise cover all fields important in retail, from category management, marketing, logistics, sales channels (online/offline, B2B) to deep understanding of the wide range of the categories (FMCG, DIY, Apparel/Fashion, Electronics…). During the engagements he has performed restructurings, turnarounds and revivals of several retailers. Lovro serves as a manager in strategy consulting, prior to joining Deloitte he has been COO of Big Bang, Commercial director of Baby Center and held several managerial positions during restructuring process of Merkur. Lovro started his career in BI team of Mercator.

Michael Leander

Repeat customer expert & transformation mentor

Solving marketing and communication problems for growth and identifying new opportunitiesis at the core of Michael Leander’s expertise. Over the course of his career, he has helped hundreds of brands improve their marcom efficiencies.


Hailing from Denmark, Michael has inspired audiences in 51 countries on 5 continents.

Aside from speaking, his experience includes teaching at MBA schools in Europe and Asia.


Michael Leander is recognized as a digital marketing pioneer and has been involved in all aspects of digital marketing since 1995.


His conference presentation will be inspirational, fun, thought-provoking, action-orientated and possibly - slightly provoking.



Managing brands with an aim to achieve sustainable growth in the omnichannel (digital) era is difficult. New ways are required to remain relevant and attractive to consumers.  They key is a balanced approach using insight to drive innovation and transformation. 
In this talk you will hear about new opportunities and ideas to increase customer demand and repeat purchases.


Guest - Speakers

Ivan Stoev

Marketing consultant & Partner, Mindblow

Ivan Stoev is a marketing consultant and partner in Mindblow, a strategic and creative boutique. He has over 15 years of experience in marketing and sales, mainly in FMCG, the pharmaceutical industry and telecommunications. He has managed one of the biggest Bulgarian brands such as Bella, Familiya, Tommi, Prestige, Trayana, Mirage, Naya, Spoko, Hyper, Roden Kray, and many others. He is a lecturer at NBU in Strategic Marketing and Behavioral Economics.

Veselina Panayotova

Business Development & Sales


Founder www.veselinapanayotova.com

Nikola Ilchev

eCommerce Academy Founder

Nikola Ilchev has been working in the field of eCommerce for more than 10 years. In 2016, he established eCommerce Academy - leading organisation executing informational and educational eCommerce conferences in the country. Nikola Ilchev has extensive experience in own and foreign online projects, as well as significant influence in the development of the eCommerce ecosystem in Bulgaria. Since the beginning of 2019, Nikola is actively developing one of the most valuable YouTube channels for online business, where everyone can find tons of useful content.

Violeta Tancheva-Rubino

Senior Client Officer, Ipsos Bulgaria

Violeta has 15 years of experience in the field of marketing research and consulting. Since 2014 she has been part of the Ipsos team in Bulgaria, where she has worked on numerous projects for local and global brands in the FMCG, pharmaceutical and financial industries.
Since 2020 she has been a guest lecturer in the master's program in Brand Management at the New Bulgarian University.

Vesela Kalchishkova

Consumer Panel Director, GfK Bulgaria

Vesela Kalchishkova has more than twenty years professional experience in Marketing and Management. Her background includes experience in marketing research, advertising agency as well as Brand and Marketing management of leading Bulgarian and multinational companies. She is winner of the title `Brand manager of the years` for 2004 and member of Bulgarian Marketing association.


From 2015 Vesela is Client Service Director, Consumer Panel at GfK Bulgaria - a leading marketing research company in the country, offering its clients the full package of marketing and sociological studies. She is consulting leading producers and retailers in the field of the FMCG business using the full set of analysis of the consumer behavior of the Bulgarian households with special focus on the brands development dynamics, brands potential, positioning in different retail formats, regions and sociodemographic groups, etc.

Holds a Master degree in Marketing and Management from University of National and World Economy, Sofia.


Marketing Corner - Parallel session

Angel Iskrev

Creative Director, proof

Angel has over eight years of experience in developing digital communications solutions in Bulgaria and abroad. He is former digital creative director of guts&brainsDDB and All Channels. He has worked for brands like Telenor Hungary, Telenor Bulgaria, Mtel, Apples Thief, Absolut Vodka, Stolichno, McDonald's, Somersby and many others. Over the past three years, the projects he has been involved in have won over 50 awards from FARA, Effie, IAB Mixx Awards, Forbes E-volution and BAPRA Bright Awards.

In his spare time he is a commentator at Eurosport and has recently been a voiceover. He loves Juventus, mountains, his balcony, and ouzo on the rocks and grapefruit fresh.


Sales Lab - Parallel session

Georgi Todorov

CEO, ReExe

Georgi Todorov has an extensive experience in organizing sales seminars and trainings in the FMCG, DIY and PHARMA sectors. He has been a Sales Manager in a number of Bulgarian companies for import, export, distribution, and production of goods – he has been responsible for development of marketing strategies and trading policies, development and training of trading teams, coordination and control of the trade representatives and marketing and accounting. For the last three years Georgi has been training the export departments of leading Bulgarian manufacturers.


Currently he is a sales mentor and personal coach for a large group of sales professionals. He specializes in the development of organizational models for sales and distribution of goods and services.

Georgi is also the author of training materials and professional guides for the FMCG professionals.


Ten years ago, Georgi was one of the initiators of the introduction of new services and methods for consumers counting in stores / traffic counting. Today, ReExe devices for people counting provide real-time data from over 2,000 stores in the country, and Georgi's team performs controlling at over 12,000 point of sales per year in Bulgaria.


Guest - speakers Discussion Panel

Speaking Opportunities
To find out more about becoming a speaker at the PROGRESSIVE Conference, please contact Katia Dzhatova
telephone: 00359 2 944 35 63
e-mail: k.dzhatova@cmg-bg.com