Elected Officials

President
Michal Ron
SACE Italy | Chief International Officer

With extensive experience in structured finance and export credit, Michal is the Chief International Officer of SACE, holding responsibility for the Group’s International Relations, Overseas Network and Political Credit Recovery.

She manages SACE’s active participation within the OECD and the EU, as well as the relationship with the peer group. Over the past 10 years, she has steered the expansion of SACE’s overseas network, supervising international underwriting generated by the 12 offices abroad. Her responsibilities also include all activities related to the Paris Club and other political recoveries.

From 2017 to September 2020 Michal served as the first Secretary General of the International Working Group (IWG). She is currently the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI).

Prior to working at SACE, she spent 10 years at Mediocredito Centrale (Head of Oil, Gas and Petrochemicals, Structured Finance) and 7 years with HSBC. With a Business Studies, Risk Management and Finance BSc Honors degree from City University Business School (London, renamed CAAS), Michal has worked in investment banking in several European countries and has been invited to speak in numerous conferences worldwide.

Vice President
Christina Westholm-Schröder
Sovereign Bermuda | Senior Vice President & Chief Underwriter

Christina Westholm-Schroder, is Sovereign’s Chief Underwriter and Senior Vice President, with more than 30 years of experience in the political risk insurance industry. She is responsible for all aspects of Sovereign's transactional underwriting. Christina also leads Sovereign’s successful cooperation with multilaterals and ECAs. 

Prior to joining Sovereign, she was a senior officer at the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) in Washington, D.C. She joined MIGA as one of the first employees and worked in several managerial capacities before assuming the role as Head of Reinsurance. In her earlier career, she worked as a financial analyst and as a broker in Sweden and at Bank of America in New York. Christina has been active in the Berne Union representing Sovereign for a number of years. 

She has served on the BU’s Management Committee since 2014, and previously held the positions as Chair of the Investment Committee and, before that, Chair of the Technical Panel. She has further served on various working groups, including the Data and Outreach Task Forces. In addition to her BU activities, Christina is also an Alternate Director on the Board of ATI (the African Trade Insurance Agency. 

Christina has a degree in international business from Stockholm School of Economics and Business Administration and an MBA in finance from New York University.

ST Committee Chair
Julian Hudson
CHUBB United Kingdom | Global Head of Trade Credit

Julian has 24 years experience in political risk and credit insurance. He commenced his career as an underwriter with Trade Indemnity (now Euler Group) in London before moving to Asia in 1999 to assume a regional broking role with Jardine Lloyd Thompson in both Singapore and Hong Kong.

Julian relocated to Singapore in January 2007 where he joined ACE (now Chubb) as the Regional Manager for Political Risk & Credit business and established the Asia practice. In July 2014, he moved back to London in the capacity of Chief Development Officer, Political Risk & Credit within Chubb Global Markets where, in addition to day-to-day underwriting responsibilities, he was involved with the promotion of new political risk and credit insurance products, the establishment of new overseas offices and capabilities, and the provision of solutions for multi-national companies. In November 2015, he was made Global Head of Trade Credit.

Julian’s experience ranges from short-term trade transactions to medium-term specialty credit through to sovereign and sub-sovereign non-payment risk, and protecting debt and equity flows into a variety of projects.

 
ECA Committee Chair
Isabel Galdiz
US EXIM United States | Vice President, International Relations Division

A leading expert on export credit policy matters, Isabel manages US EXIM international engagements across a spectrum of institutions, including OECD, Berne Union, G7/G12/G20 and, the International Working Group on export financing.

Isabel joined the Export-Import Bank of the United States in 1992 and has in the intervening years supported or represented the bank in negotiations and international engagement on a broad range of export credit topics including energy finance, content, anti-corruption, data, outreach and environmental issues.

She is one of the primary authors of US EXIM Competitiveness Report to Congress, a chief publication on export credit competitiveness and in 2011, she co-authored a contribution for the OECD publication entitled “Smart Rules for Fair Trade: 50 years of Export Credits”.

At the Berne Union Isabel has contributed to a range of efforts, including Management Committee Restructuring, Prague Club integration; Data Task Force and Outreach Task Force.

Isabel earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from la Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina in 1991. In 1997, she earned a Master of Arts in International Finance and Transactions from the School of Public Policy, George Mason University.

MLT Committee Chair
Dominique Meessen
CREDENDO Belgium | Head of Reinsurance

Dominique spent 25 years in Credendo ECA’s Underwriting and Account Management department where he occupied different positions, including management positions.

In September 2018, Dominique joined Credendo’s Reinsurance department He is currently Head of Reinsurance and responsible for both Outward and Inward reinsurance activities in Credendo. Dominique has extensive experience in Credit and Political Risk insurance from an ECA perspective but also from a private player perspective thanks to Credendo market activities.

He has attended Berne Union meetings for almost 15 years. He was Chair of the Technical Panel Meeting of the Investment Insurance Committee in 2007 and 2008. Before joining Credendo, Dominique briefly worked in a business law firm in Brussels. Dominique holds a Master’s Degree in Law (LL.M.) from the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium).

PC Committee Chair
Josef Jirkal
EGAP Czech Republic| Director International Relations Department

Josef has been the Director of the International Relations Department at EGAP since 2015. He is the head of the delegation representing the Czech Republic in the EU and the OECD and generally manages EGAP's international relations, including Berne Union affairs.

Before joining EGAP, Josef held various positions in the areas of External and International relations. He has experience as a Chair of the Council Working Group during his diplomatic service for the Czech Republic at the Permanent Representation to the EU.

 
ST Committee Vice Chair
Sunil Joshi
ECGC India | Executive Director

Sunil joined ECGC in 1988 and over the past 32 years has had comprehensive experience in both the short-term and medium- and long- term business of ECGC.
He has led client interaction teams on the ground and has also spearheaded design and development of product, policy, and procedures of both its short-term and medium- and long-term business. He has worked extensively in claims arising from export credit insurance cover extended to banks, which also constitutes the largest segment of ECGC’s short-term business.

As head of International Relations Department he has handled ECGC’s interactions at bilateral and multilateral forums. He has been a panelist at several international conferences and has published articles on international trade and credit insurance. Sunil holds a Masters Degree in Physics.

 
ECA Committee Vice Chair
Yuichiro Akita
NEXI Japan| General Manager, Planning and Policy Department

Yuichiro Akita is NEXI’s General Manager, Planning and Policy Department, who oversees all aspects of NEXI’s business, with extensive experiences in banking sector and export credit.

Prior to joining NEXI, he worked for MUFG for 7 years in corporate finance and cross-border project finance at the bank. Since he joined NEXI in 2003, he was appointed to lead underwriting teams, in the sectors such as infrastructure, aircraft, power and mining for over 10 years.

He also had various managerial experiences at corporate planning divisions covering strategic planning and international relations. He has served as a negotiator in the matter of OECD and engaged in governmental policy coordination during his secondment to Cabinet Secretariat of Government of Japan.

Through his career at NEXI, he has actively developed NEXI’s international relations, through expansion of reinsurance business with ECAs, promotion of regional cooperation in Asia and Pacific region by hosting BU RCG CEO meeting in Tokyo and bilateral meetings, and strengthening of relationships with African multilateral agencies.

He holds an MBA from Manchester Business School, MSc in Development Finance from SOAS, University of London, and LLB from Hokkaido University. He is a member of the Japan Society for International Development.

 
MLT Committee Vice Chair
Andrew Underwood
AXA XL | Chief Underwriting Officer - Specialty, UK and Lloyd's

Andrew Underwood is Chief Underwriting Offices, Speciality Insurance, UK and Lloyds at AXA XL. Before joining AXA XL, Andrew was a partner at Hiscox, holding progressively senior roles in London and New York. He has 30 years’ experience in specialty insurance and reinsurance, namely political risk, trade credit and bond, crisis management, cyber, media and entertainment, and mergers & acquisitions.

He is ACII qualified, a past Chair of the Lloyd’s Market Association Political Risks, Credit and Financial Contingencies Panel and the current chair of the International Underwriting Association Political Risk Insurance Committee. He is also a regular speaker at industry conferences and is a passionate contributor on regulatory matters, particularly those affecting Insurers and Financial Institutions. He first began working with the Berne Union in 2008.

 
PC Committee Vice Chair
Silvia Gavorníková
EXIMBANKA SR Slovakia | Head of International Relations

Silvia has been working for EXIMBANKA SR for over 20 years and during this time she has gained comprehensive experience on various positions in the field of export credit finance and insurance.

In 2014 she became the Head of International Relations Department and also been elected as a Chairman of the OECD Working Party on Export Credits and Guarantees.

In 2019 she has been elected as a co-chair of the Outreach Task Force of the Berne Union and this appointment has been concluded in October 2021, when she was elected as the Vice Chair of the Prague Club.