Management team

Executive Director


Marta Szigeti Bonifert

Born in London to Hungarian parents, Marta Szigeti Bonifert has travelled and studied in China, Ghana, Japan, Kuwait, Sweden and the USA. She spent 12 years working for the environment at organisations such as the Environment Institute and the Environment and Water Ministry in Hungary. Before joining the REC, she spent 10 years in business working for multinational companies in various senior roles ranging from head of human resources to commercial director for the CEE region at companies such as UB McVities, Vivendi Telecom Hungary and the ING Group in Hungary.

She earned a master′s degree in business administration from the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, with a focus on strategy and human resources. She has a degree in management from the International Management Center of the Central European University, and a BSc in psychology/biology from the University of Kuwait.

She is a member of the Environmental Management and Law Association (EMLA) and was its first managing director. She is a founder and board member of the CEE Network for Gender Issues and vice-president of the Hungarian Foundation for Real Equal Opportunities. She is a member of the board of the Europrosperitas 2010 foundation; an advisor to the Agroinnova/Torino University scientific committee; head of the environmental committee of the Hungarian Business Leaders Forum (HBLF); and a member of the EBRD’s Environmental and Social Advisory Council (ESAC). In 2008, she chaired the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC). She became executive director of the REC in May 2003.

Deputy Executive Director, Environmental Policy Directorate


Radoje Lausevic

Born in Belgrade to Montenegrin and Serbian parents, Radoje Lausevic has more than 20 years of diverse work experience, including project design, development, implementation and evaluation in the environmental field. He has a thorough understanding of environmental policy trends in Central and Eastern Europe. He has a proven track record of successful contacts with governmental, inter-governmental and (inter)national (donor) organisations — for example UNEP, UNDP, OSCE, FAO, Sida, CIDA, USAID, the ministries of foreign affairs of Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, and Greece, IUCN, ECNC and WWF. He has also demonstrated competence in resource mobilisation and fundraising.

He earned a PhD in hydrobiology from the University of Belgrade and was assistant professor in general hydrobiology between 1996 and 2006. He was also involved in research activities in nutrient pollution control and the ecology and taxonomy of algae, in particular diatoms.

In 2001, he was appointed director of the REC′s country office in Yugoslavia (later Serbia and Montenegro). Between 2004 and 2008, as the REC′s regional director for South Eastern Europe (SEE), he provided strategic visioning, programme planning, supervision and coaching for REC country and field office directors in SEE. In October 2008 he became deputy executive director, Environmental Policy Directorate, with responsibility for strategic visioning and planning, building relationships with stakeholders, maintaining contacts, negotiating and collaborating with partners, and supervising and coaching topic area leaders, including quality assurance and control.

Deputy Executive Director, Operations


Zoltan Erdelyi

Born in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary, Zoltan Erdelyi earned a master′s degree in economics from the Budapest University of Economic Sciences (now Corvinus University) and the Freie Universitaet Berlin. He also studied in the United Kingdom and Spain. He is currently working towards a PhD in management sciences with Miskolc University.

He has 17 years′ professional experience in the operational and financial fields of companies in Germany and Hungary. Before joining the REC, he worked for 13 years in management roles, from chief financial officer to deputy executive director for operations, at multinational companies in Hungary. For six years his tasks also included regional responsibilities for Central and Eastern European countries.

He became deputy executive director of the REC in May 2009.

Regional Director for South Eastern Europe


Gordana Kozuharova

Gordana Kozuharova is from Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. From 1998 until autumn 2008, she worked for the Macedonian Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning as head of the Department for Cooperation and Project Coordination.

Among her responsibilities was the coordination of the programming and implementation process of the EC’s Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). She was senior programming officer for Component I and IPA coordinator for Component III under the IPA, dealing with the Operational Programme for Transport and the Environment. Between 2000 and 2003 she was head of the Division for Multilateral Cooperation, and from 2003 to 2007 she was head of the ministry’s Department for European Integration. She joined the REC in 2008 as regional director for South Eastern Europe (SEE). She is responsible for supervising and coaching REC country and field offices in the SEE region and, as one of REC’s senior managers, for supporting the REC’s strategic vision and programme planning for the region. She is currently completing post-graduate studies in environmental management. She speaks English and Macedonian.

Regional Director for Turkey and the Black Sea Region


Sibel Sezer

After graduating from Columbia University as an economics major, Sibel Sezer Eralp returned to her native Turkey and completed an MBA at Bilkent University. She then joined the marketing department of Procter & Gamble. Subsequently, having decided to focus on sustainable development, she began post-doctoral studies at the Environmental Sciences Institute of Bosphorus University and received a PhD in environmental financing in 2000. In the meantime, she worked for the Global Environment Facility Black Sea Environmental Programme in Istanbul as an environmental economist. Having spent over four years with GEF, she joined UNDP as director of the National Programme on Environment and Development.

Her main tasks were to coordinate national preparations for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and for achieving compliance with international agreements on climate change and desertification. She is currently the REC’s regional director for Turkey and the Black Sea and is also director of the REC’s country office in Turkey. She has coordinated various projects in the Black Sea region, including regional trainings and seminars on sustainable development.

Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe


Otto Szabo

Otto Szabo gained a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

With valuable experience in the field of finance both in Hungary and abroad (Ernst and Young, KPMG), he joined the REC in 2009. His responsibilities are mainly related to organisational issues, with a particular focus on the CEE region. He also participates in project development and management and is responsible for the REC’s country offices in the new EU member states, market research and the management of stakeholder relations.

Advisor to the Executive Director


Stefania Romano

Stefania Romano is an experienced coordinator of international projects in the field of environment, sustainable development and transnational cooperation. With a background in public policy, she has in-depth knowledge of organisational and bureaucratic structures for developing and implementing policies and assessing policy alternatives. After working in the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea in Rome, she was appointed to participate in developing bilateral cooperation between Serbia and Italy. She was then assigned to represent the Italian Trust Fund at the Regional Environmental Center, where she serves both as an advisor to the executive director and as local coordinator for projects financed by the Italian Trust Fund. In 2008, she was made head of the Italian Trust Fund and topic area leader for courses on sustainable development. She evaluates and approves budgets for multi-country projects; monitors implementation and the disbursement of funds; and assesses outcomes and expenditure reports.

Head of the Executive Director’s Office


Kenty Richardson

Born in Barcelona with both French and Spanish nationality, he was until very recently the head of international relations and development cooperation in the Department of Environment and Housing (DMAH) of the Government of Catalonia. For more than 18 years he was in charge of the international representation of the department before international organisations, states, other sub-national governments and NGOs. He coordinated the representation of the department at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992, the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, before the Commission for Sustainable Development from 2003 to 2008, and in relation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change since 2003, in which position he has been particularly active in promoting the recognition of sub-national governments. Between 2006 and 2009, he was responsible for development cooperation in the environmental field in close coordination with the Catalan Development Agency and all units of the department (climate change, environmental education, nature protection, waste and water management). Alongside his responsibilities at international level, he was also in charge of European Affairs (2006-2008), Agenda 21 for Catalonia (1999-2001) and environmental education (1991-1994). He is the founder and former president of the Natura Foundation, an organisation working in partnership with businesses and public administrations in promoting biodiversity. He is by training a lawyer and holds a degree in international law from the University of Aix-en-Provence and three postgraduate degrees: in European law from the College of Europe; in environmental law, combined with a diploma in environmental pollution, from the University of Strasbourg; and in environment and economics from the University of Barcelona. He joined the REC in 2009.