Business Scene

ECI Telecome has announced the decision by its executive vice president and chief financial officer, Giora Bitan, to step down in order to resume his career in venture capital.

It's hard to tell which of Israel's prominent businessmen is creating the most news in terms of sales and acquisitions. Africa Israel chairman Lev Leviev and IDB Holdings chairman Nochi Dankner appear in the lead - sometimes with mutual interests such as Cellcom Israel, the initial public offering of which was so successfully floated last week on the New York Stock Exchange. Leviev reportedly bought a very heavy chunk of that stock. He is also considering buying the controlling interest in Haifa Oil Refineries and, according to Globes, he and real estate developer Alfred Akirov have sold their land rights in David's Village, Jerusalem, to American real estate tycoon Robert Rechnitz for $40 million. The area is zoned for 78 housing units. If Rechnitz decides to build, he may be contributing to the enlargement of what is already a rich man's ghost town, as most of the properties in David's Village are owned by non-residents. It's possible that the large influx of affluent immigrants from France could change the image of David's Village to that of a vibrant community - but that will take time given that no start has yet been made on the vacant land. The area, facing the walls of the old city, is particularly attractive to the religiously observant. ECI TELECOM has announced the decision by its executive vice president and chief financial officer, Giora Bitan, to step down in order to resume his career in venture capital. Bitan plans to join Poalim Capital Markets, a member of the Bank Hapoalim Group. Prior to joining ECI in 2002, Bitan was a general partner at Giza Venture Capital. ECI has launched a search outside the company for a suitable successor to Bitan, and hopes to find someone quickly so that the transition can take place in the first quarter. Biton will continue to serve as CFO until such time. AFTER ONLY four years in business with her own studio and retail store in the mid-northern sector of Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Street, fashion designer Michael Zeiden is calling it quits, and has mounted a giant closing down sale. Prices have been reduced by 60 percent and more. The sale which began on Sunday continues till March 16. Zeiden is known for her innovative concepts. Though it's not unlikely that some major fashion house looking for her kind of pizzazz will offer her a job, it's just possible that these final items with her own label, may end up as collectables. THE SONOL fuel company is launching a fund-raising campaign for Larger than Life, an organization that works towards improving the quality of life of children who have been stricken with cancer. The month-long fundraiser begins at all Sonol service stations on February 15 with the sale of magnetic picture frames inscribed "I love my family" and a puzzle within the frame for NIS 7.99. All proceeds from the sale will be transferred to Larger than Life. Sonol CEO Tamir Poliker said the company and its workers see the campaign as one of the highest significance in fostering family values. The company has taken on the campaign within the framework of its contribution to the community, a tradition which it plans to expand annually. UPA Israel, a formal chapter of Usability Professionals' Association, has appointed Dana Dumai as its ombudsman. UPA Israel is a community of Israeli professionals in the fields of usability, user interface design, human factors engineering, user experience design and the gray areas that lie between. UPA Israel aims to increase awareness for the need of convenience, simplicity and fun in using technology, develop a platform for networking among professionals and constitute an Israeli body of knowledge. THE GOLD Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) has announced that it will include Maria Cornelius, a fourth year student in the Medical School for International Health, an innovative collaborative medical school operated by Ben-Gurion University and Columbia University Medical Center in its 2007 class of inductees. The students will be recognized at the 2007 Medical School for International Health graduation in Beersheba, and at Columbia University Medical Center in New York on June 3. Cornelius received a master's degree in 2003 from The University of South Dakota. Her work in global health and her commitment to humanism have earned her one of the highest international honors among medical students. Cornelius, a Canton native, served in the US Peace Corps in Fiji for two-and-a-half years. Among her many Israel-based efforts, she worked on a health survey to aid eight villages in the West Bank. Cornelius is currently on a rotation in the Peruvian Amazon and will spend time in internal medicine and some rural clinics along the river before returning to Israel for graduation. Her future plans include returning to the Midwest region and beginning her residency in family medicine in July. The GHHS, a national initiative of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, honors top medical students and physicians who demonstrate a superior commitment to service. Through peer and faculty nomination, top students are selected for demonstrating outstanding clinical abilities and compassion in care-giving. This Gold Foundation-led initiative receives considerable funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic supporters of health care. Students are selected by one of the 60 campus chapters internationally, which include the Medical School for International Health. BMC SOFTWARE Israel has appointed Danny Weisler as its regional sales manager. Weisler, 49, will be responsible for operations in Israel and all the countries of the Mediterranean. Weisler was previously sales director for Silver Mind and before that was operations manager for Tivoli, Israel. An industrial engineer by profession, Weisler also has an MBA. BYNET COMMUNICATIONS has appointed Yuval Ronen as CFO. Ronen will be responsible for the company's finances in Israel and abroad. He will also be in charge of overseas operations and for cooperation between the leading business partners of the company. Ronen comes to Bynet from Ceragon Networks where he was employed for seven years. Before that he worked in an accountant's office. He replaces Amnon Keren who was in the post for six years. PANORAMA HAS named Yoni Ben Shaul as sales manager for Asia and the Pacific. Ben Shaul, 28, will be responsible for sales operations in India, Japan, Korea, Australia, Singapore and Taiwan. Prior to joining Panorama, Ben Shaul worked for three years as sales manager for Mind CTI, a global provider of real-time mediation, rating, billing and customer care, where he was responsible for sales operations in Asia, Germany and Switzerland. A Hebrew University graduate, Ben Shaul has a first degree in computer sciences and economics. RESHEF PRINTING Solutions, the Israel representative for Brother International, has announced the appointment of Oded Efrati as manager of customer portfolios. Efrati will be primarily responsible for institutional portfolios including those of government offices to which he will promote and sell Brother products. The job represents a change of pace and a broader horizon for Efrati, who for the past two years managed a coffee shop and restaurant in the Corus chain. Before that he worked for Graffiti where he was in charge of customer portfolios. ASSOCIATION OF Senior Citizens chairman Gideon Ben-Israel was elected to head the National Insurance Council's committee for the elderly and dependants. A former MK, Ben-Israel, was previously head of labor relations in the Histadrut. He is married to Israel Prize laureate, Ruth Ben-Israel, a leading law professor.