Mr. Gabriel Eichler, Founder of Benson Oak, has held senior executive positions in banking and industry in both the US and Europe. He acquired his first international banking experience at Bank of America where he spent 15 years, half of it in the bank’s headquarters in the US and half as regional General Manager for Bank of America in Paris, Vienna and Frankfurt. As the Chief International Economist, he was responsible for country risk assessment of over 100 countries, participated on the Country Risk Committee in establishing country guidelines, portfolio decisions and in sovereign debt restructurings, and advised senior management on global economic and political issues. He was chair or member of several international sovereign debt restructuring committees. After leaving Bank of America, Mr. Eichler spent a year as a partner and EVP in a US private equity group.
Until January 2001, Mr. Eichler was Chairman of the Board, President & CEO of VSŽ, the largest steel company in Central Europe. At the request of the company’s bank lenders, he led the Slovak company from the brink of bankruptcy, engineered its financial and operational restructuring, returned it to profitability, and subsequently negotiated the sale of its steel business to US Steel. From 1994 to 1998 he was Vice Chairman of the Board and until the end of 1996 CFO of ČEZ. His main task was to organize the company to be able to finance a CZK 170 billion investment program. ČEZ became the first company in post-communist Europe to obtain a rating (investment grade), first to access the Euromarkets and the US capital markets. He was Vice Chairman of the Supervisory Board of ČSOB (the largest Czech bank) a member of the Supervisory Boards of Česká pojišťovna (the largest Czech insurance company) and Slovenská sporitelna (the largest Slovak bank), a member of the Board of the EastWest Institute and the Atlantic Council of the US. In the early nineties, he advised the Czechoslovak government on economic transformation.
Born in 1950, in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, Mr. Eichler completed undergraduate and graduate studies in the US, lived mostly in the US and Western Europe between 1968 and 1990 and speaks several European languages.