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(photo credit: Courtesy)
A LARGE headline in Maariv this week called him "The Gaydamak of Namibia." Alongside the headline was a smiling and relaxed image of Israeli-born Kobi Alexander, the founder, former chairman and chief executive officer of NY-headquartered Comverse Technology Inc. who is wanted in the US for allegedly backdating millions of dollars worth of stock options. After being charged in New York with conspiring to commit securities fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud. Alexander fled to Namibia from where the Americans have been trying to extradite him for the best part of 10 months. The case keeps getting postponed, but a hearing has been scheduled for August 13. A Namibian judge released him on $1.4 million bail last October. In the interim Alexander has been donating generously to Namibian charities and investing in the Namibian economy. The Namibians love him and he claims to love them.
THE COLLAPSE of the Heftsiba construction company should not have come as a surprise to anyone following the market. According to a report in The Marker, the E&Y firm of accountants warned as far back as six months ago that Heftsiba had a serious cash flow problem. Meanwhile, since the announcement of the company's fiscal crisis, and the dashing of the dreams of thousands of struggling Israeli families who had put their entire savings into new apartments which some will not be able to claim, Heftsiba's chairman Boaz Yona has disappeared. Some reports said he had fled to Russia; others said he was still in Jerusalem, while others presumed that he had left the country for an unknown destination. To the credit of the Israeli communications media, as well as to legal experts, there is a strong desire to do something for those people who have been left high and dry by Heftsiba, especially those who may have lost their money in addition to their housing rights. Television and radio stations immediately began interviewing lawyers about what the victims of the Heftsiba tragedy can do, whereas the print media came in after the weekend with similar interviews. Lawyers have been extremely forthcoming and cooperative with pro bono advice, proving that they're not nearly as hard-hearted as some of their reputations would indicate.
THE Manufacturers Association of Israel decided to honor eight of its veteran members for their pioneering roles in creating and working in industries that helped to lay the foundations for Israel's economy. The honorees included Aharon Castro, the founder of Castro Models; Yechiel Grabelski, who founded Jerusalem Marble; Zvulun Tomer, who started Unipress; Shoshana Rubin, a long-time employee of Galam; Chaim Eitani of Carmel Carpets; Yaacov Broshi of Broshi & Sons; Yitzhak Bir of Bir Judaica; and Benzion Weiner of the Kibbutz Industries Association. The citations were conferred in the presence Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai by Manufacturers Association President Shraga Brosh and three of his predecessors, Stef Wertheimer, Eli Hurvitz and Dov Lautman.
THE ALONI chain has announced the appointment of Gabi Dolev as national marketing manager for the company, which specializes in interior dÃ©cor. Aloni has a large range of marble, stone, ceramic, porcelain and parquet products as well as sanitary installations manufactured by some of the world's leading companies in their respective fields. Dolev comes to Aloni from Ikea Israel, where she spent the past seven years. At Ikea, she was responsible for all of the company's marketing and publicity operations.
IT'S NOT every day that Delek CEO Eyal Lapidot signs a check for NIS 800 million. But that was the sum required by Pi Glilot CEO Avi Dotan to finalize the deal for Delek's strategic acquisition of Pi Glilot terminals in Ashdod, Jerusalem and Beersheba.
AFTER SIX years with Leumi, four of them as head of the bank's construction and real estate division, Uri Levy notified CEO Galia Maor and head of the business division Rakefet Rusak-Aminach of his intention to wind up his tenure. He will be replaced by Yoel Mintz, ,head of credit products in the business division. Levy, who is considering several options in both the private and public sectors, came to Leumi from the Finance Ministry where he was deputy head of the Budgets Division and was responsible for the defense budget and the fiscal aspects of the peace process. Mintz, 53, is a Leumi veteran who has been with the bank for 28 years.
CERTIFIED ACCOUNTANT Ronen Madar, 46, has been appointed head of the supervisory department of the secondary market at the Israel Securities Authority. Madar, who holds an MBA in addition to his degree in accountancy, worked in the past as an investigator with the Authority's investigations department. He has been involved with the secondary market since 1997, working in a variety of capacities. Prior to that, he worked for a private firm of accountants.
MATRIX HAS appointed Dalia Robinson as head of its technological and financial applications division in the capacity of vice president. Robinson has 500 employees working under her supervision in areas of advanced applied and developing technology providing solutions for banks, financial enterprises, capital markets, credit companies and insurance companies. A Bar Ilan alumnus, Robinson has a BA in computer sciences and philosophy, and has wide information technology experience having worked for 17 years for SPL Software, where she held several senior positions.
THE ISRAEL Electric Corporation has announced two new appointments. Itzhak Balmas, 43, has been named head of the Alon Tavor power station and Dov Cohen, 50, has been promoted to head of the IEC's logistics and assets department. Balmas has a BA in electrical engineering from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and an MA in mechanical engineering from the Haifa Technion. He has been with the IEC since 1990, during which time he has acquired considerable management skills and experience. Cohen, who has a BA in behavioral sciences, has been with the IEC since 1979, starting with the security division in the northern district and moving on to different areas of responsibility.
THE JEWISH world owes a debt of gratitude to Genzyme for its contribution to the development of medications for rare genetic diseases, especially those found most frequently among Jews, says Zeev Zelig, vice president of Genzyme International. Genzyme recently received one of the most prestigious prizes in the field of medicine from US President George W. Bush in recognition of technological innovations that have led to dramatic improvements to the health of thousands of people. Established in 1981 as a small start-up company, Genzyme has grown into a biotechnological giant with a sales turnover in 2006 of $3.2 billion. The company has more than 9,000 employees in 90 countries including Israel. Genzyme Israel, located in Kfar Saba, was established in 1993 as an affiliate of Genzyme International. At that time, Zelig was general manager of Genzyme Israel.
BELINSON HOSPITAL'S Dr. Yariv Yogev has a fine international reputation for his expertise in obstetrics, gynecology and diabetes, but now he can add another feather to his bow. In a survey among Tel Aviv University students who are studying gynecology, Yogev, 37, was voted to be the best lecturer. The survey included 250 doctors who are lecturers in their respective fields. The point-system survey among 300 fifth-year students who, for the past three years have participated in a six- week course in which they received both practical and theoretical training at one of the hospitals affiliated with TAU - Beilinson, Ichilov, Sheba, Assaf Harofeh, Wolfson and Meir. Yogev scored 40 points, which put him ahead of his colleagues in all six medical centers. Yogev was one of four medical experts and lecturers who scored exceptionally well in the eyes of the students. Aside from the pride that comes with being numero uno, Yogev received a $1,500 scholarship. Yogev, who has known since he was a child that he would devote himself to medicine, will use his prize to finance his attendance at an international conference on high risks in pregnancy.
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