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June 30, 2008

PwC South-East Europe leader aiming for new heights

Vasile Iuga is a high flier in more ways than one. The new PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) South-East Europe (SEE) managing partner has a degree in aeronautics and previously worked for 12 years as an engineer and head of testing for a major Romanian aircraft manufacturing company that built the nation’s first plane.

Today, Iuga is more focused on elevating the quality of service and training at PwC member firms in the region. After training at Harvard and the London Business School, Iuga joined PwC Romania in 1991 and was promoted to partner six years later.

He continued his quick progression through the firm and was appointed the country managing partner for Romania in 2004. Iuga then became a member of the firm’s managing council of the Central and Eastern Europe region the following year and just recently was appointed as managing partner of PwC SEE.

Over the past five years, member firms in Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania and Bulgaria have joined the partnership to form the SEE cluster. SEE is a part of the firm’s larger Central and Eastern European region, which is spread across 27 countries.

A consistent approach

Iuga said PwC aims to increase the existing relationships between the SEE regional firms in order to deliver a higher and consistent level of service.

“The countries within SEE region are in different stages of economic and socio-political evolution but in the long run I am convinced they will all align to the development pattern of the European Union,” he said.

“That is why everything we have learned so far in Romania and Bulgaria can be successfully applied in other countries of the region.”

The World Investment Prospects survey of 2007-2009, released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development last year, noted that the SEE region is favourable for foreign direct investment.

However, Iuga notes there is a growing concern that the regulatory burdens can inhibit businesses’ ability and willingness to invest in the SEE.

He said he believes more transparency and better information to assist with dialogue between government and business is the key to combat this.

Iuga is experienced in promoting the concerns of the business community. While representing PwC on the American Chamber of Commerce in Romania board and tax committee, he helped contribute to the improvement of the Romanian business environment by bringing attention to the issues faced by investors in their day-to-day activity. He also provided a series of recommendations to the government on how to solve these issues.

Despite these challenges, PwC Romania reported the highest growth rate in the region, followed by Bulgaria and Serbia, in the fiscal year end to June 2008. The tax and legal service lines showed a high growth rate increase, as did assurance and advisory.

Iuga told the International Accounting Bulletin: “The growth is generated mainly by the growth of the economies in these emerging markets and by the increased need of professional services.

“Our clients are very interested in finding more and more ways for achieving growth, improving operations, managing people, managing risk, managing regulations and reporting to stakeholders.”

Having dealt with turbulence as an engineer, Iuga now has the task of steering one the largest accountancy firms through a promising yet even more challenging climate.

Nicola Maher

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