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SPRING's External Advisory Board (EAB) is composed of 2 external experts in each participating country. The EAB will provide the Consortium with feedback and suggestions for improvement  at critical stages of the project.
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Dr Elias Hadjielias, BA, MSc, PhD, FHEA

Lecturer, Cyprus University of Technology, CY

Elias Ηadjielias is a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Cyprus University of Technology. His research interests include entrepreneurial teams, entrepreneurship in family businesses, sustainable entrepreneurship, business philanthropy, and business-to-business collaborations and co-operations. Elias won various awards for his research work and academic service and he has published scientific articles in international prestigious journals, such as Annals of Tourism Research,  International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Journal of Family Business Strategy, and International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business.  


Dr. Ηadjielias has served and serves as a Guest-editor for six special issues at leading journals such as Journal of Business Research, International Marketing Review, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, and Journal of Small Business Management, among others.

Mr Demetris S. Vakis

Board member, KPMG, CY

Demetris holds a BSc. in Computer Science and Accounting (Joint Honours) from the University of Manchester and is a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and member of the Cyprus Institute of Internal Auditors of Cyprus. He serves on KPMG’s Board and on its Executive Committee and leads KPMG’s Sales & Markets. He has extensive experience both in Audit and in Advisory, having served in both roles for many years. He has been serving a number of industries, such as Information, Communication & Technology, Hospitality & Tourism, Retail, Manufacturing, Investment Management, Financial Services. His service portfolio over the years included Audit and Assurance, Introduction of Technology, Mergers & Acquisitions, Flotations, Business Strategy, Risk Advisory, Quality Systems, Project Appraisal, Internal Audit. He is currently in charge of a portfolio of assurance clients and heads KPMG’s Family Business services.


He is the president of the Council of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus for a second two-year term.  He is vice-president of the Board of the Employers and Industrialists Federation of Cyprus and serves on its executive Committee. He is President of the Cyprus-Hungary Business Association. He also serves on the board of the Tech Faculty of ICAEW. In the past he served as member of the boards of the Research promotion Foundation and of the Cyprus State Fairs Authority.


Mr Nicolas Hollanders

Partner & Advisor at Lansberg Gersick & Associates, FR

Nicolas Hollanders specializes in governance design and succession planning.  He has advised companies and families in the fields of shareholder strategy, governance, executive recruitment, selection and executive succession, family talent assessment, philanthropy, and continuity planning.  

Earlier in his career, Nicolas was an attorney with Liedekerke, a law firm in Brussels, as well as an assistant professor in corporate law at the University of Leuven.  He then joined Maroquinerie Delvaux, a third generation international family-owned company, where he served as Managing Director, reshaping its corporate, financial, and ownership structure in order to enable a smooth transition between generations. Nicolas then moved to Egon Zehnder where he was a partner and shareholder for over 7 years, leading the European and Global Life Sciences Practice of the firm.

Prior to joining LGA, Nicolas was a member of the executive committee for Delhaize Group, an international family firm that employs over 150,000 people across nine countries in North America, Europe, and Asia, and served as the head of human resources, IT, and sustainability. There he developed global group functions and managed several transformation programs, as well as leading teams of several hundred employees in HR and IT. Next to his consulting activities, he serves today as the Chairman of a family holding structure controlling a large international industrial group, and is a member of the Family Council governing the affairs of nearly 350 descendants. Nicolas holds two graduate degrees in law from KU Leuven and a post-graduate degree in economics from UC Louvain, and works comfortably in English, French, and Dutch.

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Ms Caroline Mathieu

Executive Director of FBN France

Caroline Mathieu is the Executive Director of FBN France. Before joining FBN, Caroline worked in publishing. She spent 17 years as Editorial Director at Le Livre de Poche, the major paperback publishing house, subsidiary of Hachette Book Group. She was also the Deputy CEO of Editions Payot and Rivages, a family business. Caroline has two Masters degrees, one in General Management and Business administration and another one in Comparative Literature.

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Prof Felipe Hernández Perlines

University of Castilla-La Mancha, ES

Felipe Hernández Perlines is professor in the Department of Business Administration at the University of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo campus. Doctor in Economics and Business from the University of Castilla-La Mancha and Specialist in University Teaching from the University of Castilla-La Mancha. He has participated as editor and/or author in books such as Human Resources Management, Business Organization and Human Resources Management, Ethics and Social Responsibility, The Family Business in Spain (2015), Competitiveness Factors and Financial Analysis in the Family Business, the last two in collaboration with the Network of Chairs of the Family Business of the Family Business Institute of Spain.


Its research activity focuses on agro-food cooperatives, the tourism sector and family businesses, analysing aspects related to entrepreneurial orientation, dynamic capabilities and internationalization. His work has been published in renowned journals such as the Journal Business Research, R&D Management, European Journal of International Management, Psychology & Marketing, Frontiers in Psychology, Management Decision, European Journal of International Management, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management and International Journal of Hospitality Management, Sustainability. He is associate editor of several special issues on family business in the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research and in Sustainability. He has been Director of the Chair of Cooperative Studies "UCLM-Fundación Caja Rural de Toledo" (2005-2011) and of the "Manuel Díaz" lecture hall of the Chair of Family Business at the University of Castilla-La Mancha.


Dr Manuel Alonso

Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, ES

Manuel Alonso holds a PhD in Marketing and Consumption from the University of Granada. He currently works at the Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, in Concepción (Chile). His areas of interest are sports marketing and marketing in family businesses. He is currently researching the image transmission of the family component through the application of neurophysiological techniques. Manuel has published more than 40 manuscripts in prestigious international journals (Psychology & Marketing, Physiology & Behavior, Engineering Economics, IMDS, etc.) and has attended presentations at more than 50 international conferences.

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Mr Pedro Carvalho

Manager of Global Business Development at Quinta dos Termos, PT

Pedro Carvalho is a Manager of Global Business Development at Quinta dos Termos, a Portuguese wine producer. He holds a bachelor degree in Economics and a master’s in Management degree from Nova School of Business and Economics (Universidade Nova de Lisboa). He also has a post-graduate degree in Wine Business from ISEG (Universidade de Lisboa), where he has received the ViniPortugal award for being the best student. Currently he is also studying in Universidade do Porto, in the master’s degree in Viticulture and Oenology Engineering. Previously, he was Team Leader of Corporate Planning and Management Control of Travelstore Group, SGPS.

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Dr Catarina Afonso Alves

Assistant Professor, Polytechnic of Guarda, PT

Catarina Afonso Alves holds a PhD in Management in University of Beira Interior (Covilhã – Portugal). Her main interesting topics of investigation are Family Business Performance and entrepreneurship, holding several prominent publications, book chapters, seminars attending’s, besides being a reviewer of Journal of Family Business Management (Emerald Group Publishing). She is also Assistant Professor in School of Technology and Management in Polytechnic of Guarda (Portugal) and has Accounting and Financial professional experience. 

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Ms Diane Watson

Consultant, UK

Diane Watson has over 20 years experience of running a successful education and training consultancy company. Diane set up the company, Pointing Associates in 1989 as a sole trader and developed this into Pointing Consultancy Services Ltd in 1992 employing 12 full-time staff. The company was scaled down in 1997 due to personal circumstances and relocated from West Yorkshire to Lincolnshire in 2001 where Diane again operated as a sole trader under the name of DG Associates. 

Diane negotiated major contracts with Sector Skills Councils, the Employment Department, the Education Department, the British Council, UNISON, Qualification Awarding Bodies, Professional Institutes and many individual public and private sector organisations.  The company provided UK-wide services and successfully completed a large project in Colombia. Diane also worked with several small businesses in Yorkshire advising them on Business Development, Business Opportunities and Business Structuring - a number of these businesses were family owned and run, some for more than one generation.  

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Mr Mike Day

Director of Sinocampus UK Ltd & Day 8 Ltd, UK

Mike Day (Arthur Michael Day) is the director of Sinocampus UK Ltd and Day 8 Ltd. Mike is leading the UK office for SinoCampus, China’s first integrated international education service provider promoting trans-national education. He is also managing Day 8 with other associates to deliver consultancy services to education, healthcare and business. Current assignments include developing partnerships between healthcare research and education providers in UK and China. Mike is also a Founding Trustee and Chairman of the International Education Wales, a charitable incorporated organisation that supports advancement of education and health in the UK and Wales and the rest of the world through mutual cultural and educational understanding and sharing of information.

Mike Day holds a BSc in Economics and a post-graduate diploma in personnel management from the University of Wales. He is interested in, and involved with, local politics. He was elected as a Counsellor for the City and Country of Swansea in 1999 and he served as Cabinet Member for Education between 2004 and 2012. He is currently Chair of a multi-agency group to promote Enterprise Education among children and young people in Swansea (BEES) and Member of Governing Bodies of Gower College Swansea, Olchfa Comprehensive and Sketty Primary Schools.


Mr Munir Sultan Awan

Supply Manager of AWAN UG, GR

Munir Sultan Awan, Master of Business Administration, University of Wisconsin, USA, is the Supply Manager of AWAN UG in Germany. He is specialized in international business development, especially in China with focus on international trade and business relations.


As a Life-Time Entrepreneur, Blockchain Enthusiast, Innovation Promoter with over 30 years of business experience in China, Munir is an expert in procurement and sourcing in the Asian Market. Apart from importing textiles and industrial products, in particular for the automotive industry, he recently provided the German federal ministry of health with Covid-19 protection equipment as well.


Mr Sascha Schmitt 

CEO of Elektrohandel Schmitt Sandhausen, Germany

Sascha Schmitt is the CEO of Elektrohandel Schmitt Sandhausen. He is the active and managing partner in Elektrohandel Schmitt. The company focusses on furnishing and improving buildings with electrical equipment as well as on complete infrastructure systems. Sascha Schmitt is in charge of these two areas. One of the key issues of Elektrohandel Schmitt is to improve the world for us and future generations and to keep our planet habitable.


In the medium term Elektrohandel Schmitt plan to extend their activities to various European countries, and this is also one of the main reasons apart from the current issues of succession in SMEs for Sascha Schmitt to be very interested in the project SPRING.

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