Speakers & Guests 2023

 

​​Johan Eliasch

International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) | President
Bio

Johan Eliasch is the 5th President of the International Ski and Snowboard Federation FIS, Chairman of the global sporting goods group HEAD and the former Special Representative of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He is currently the chairman of ECJ Holdings, London Films, the Saatchi Gallery and Cool Earth, the founder of Rainforest Trust which preserves 1,600 square kilometres of rainforest in the Amazonas, president of the Global Strategy Forum, director of the Foundation for Renewable Energy and Environment and advisory board member of Brasilinvest and the Stockholm Resilience Centre. He previously served as chairman of Starr Managing Agents, Aman Resorts and Investcorp Europe, as trustee of the Kew Foundation, as a board member of IMG and the Special Olympics Great Britain, as advisory board member of the Shimon Peres Peace Centre, World Peace Foundation, the Centre for Social Justice, Societe du Louvre and the British Olympic Association, and as a member of the Mayor of London’s (Boris Johnson), Jerusalem’s and Rome’s International Business Advisory Councils. He chaired the Eliasch Review: Climate Change – Financing Global Forests, an independent review commissioned by the UK government in 2008, the 2021 HM Treasury net zero review technology and innovation advisory group, RUSI’s Food, Energy and Water security program, and was a member of the DEFRA Council for Sustainable Business.

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​​Michael Payne

Payne Sports Media Strategies | Chairman – CEO
Bio

Michael served as senior strategic advisor to the successful London 2012, Rio 2016 and LA 2028 bids. For more than a decade, Michael has acted as special advisor to F1’s former Chairman / CEO Bernie Ecclestone. He advises on major Olympic and other sports media rights and sponsorship negotiations for clients across the world, negotiating many of largest broadcast and sponsorship deals. Recently he pioneered, with his Chinese partners Shankai, the ground breaking innovative Alibaba – IOC long term partnership deal. He has been at the forefront of the sports marketing industry for over thirty years – having led the global marketing effort for the Olympic Movement for more than two decades, from 1983 to 2004 as the IOC’s first ever Marketing and Broadcast Rights Director. During his tenure at the IOC, Michael led the marketing team that would generate more than $15 billion in broadcast and marketing revenues. On leaving the IOC, following the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Michael founded his own strategic consultancy Payne Sports Media Strategies SA.
Michael is the author of ‘Olympic Turnaround’ – the best-selling book that details the transformation of the Olympic Movement from bankruptcy to a multi-billion $ brand. Olympic Turnaround has been published in 15 languages. His latest book ‘Toon In!’, the epic story of Olympics told like never before (in cartoon form), has won the Illustrated Sports Book of the Year Award at the Sunday Times Sports Book Awards.

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​​Amar Singh

MKTG Sports+Entertainment | Head of Content and Communications
Bio

Amar Singh is a highly experienced media professional specialising in content strategy and digital marketing in sport. After working as a newspaper journalist, he moved to Goal.com in 2009, later to daily newspaper London Evening Standard and as a Chief Content Officer to Squawka, data-football specialists.
Amar then joined Premier League club West Ham United, where, as Head of Content, helped the club grow its global audience and achieve record audience metrics across a range of platforms. After two years at West Ham, Amar joined AB-InBev, the world’s largest brewer. As Head of global football content for Budweiser, Amar led the content strategy with the Premier League, LaLiga, England and the FA Cup plus working with footballers including Lionel Messi. After joining Dentsu-owned MKTG Sport + Entertainment in 2022 as Senior Vice President, Head of Content & Comms, Amar now advises some of the biggest brands in the world on sponsorship, marketing, and content strategy. He works with organisations including Mondelez, FedEx and Vodafone on bringing their partnerships to life. A mentor for organisations including Kick It Out and One Million Mentors, Amar is passionate about helping give opportunities to others, using his experience and knowledge to develop talent and help diversify the sector.

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​​Arthur Guisasola

TikTok | Global Partner Manager, Sport
Bio

Born in Brazil and raised in the United States and Spain, Arthur Guisasola has worked in the sports industry in the United States, Spain, Brazil and the United Kingdom. With previous experience as a sports editor for the North American edition of As.com and working as a social media manager for Atletico Madrid, Guisasola has been at TikTok since January 2019. He is currently the Global Partner Manager, Sport, where he leads the strategic relationships TikTok has with EMEA-based global sport properties. In 2022, he was selected by Forbes as a Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe: Sport & Games, as well as a Sport Industry Next Gen Leader.

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​​Gianluca Santaniello

Venezia FC | Director of Business Area
Bio

Gianluca Santaniello, one of European football’s most appreciated young professionals, is the current Director of Business Area at Venezia FC, a post he has held since winter 2021, before which he served the club as Chief of Staff and Executive Manager starting from the due diligence when a new U.S. ownership group led by former CEO of NYSE Duncan Niederauer took over the club and began its reshaping and renaissance. In his current role Santaniello has worked closely with the owners and the leadership of the club and has been responsible for restructuring all departments within corporate area at the club. During Santaniello’s time in the role, Venezia is going through one of the most emphatic repositioning in recent football history, allying its identity more closely with the city’s reputation for classical art, architecture and innovation. Graduated from Bocconi University with a degree in Management and an international experience at IPADE Business School of Mexico City, Santaniello joined Venezia FC following a 7-year consulting career at Bip, Accenture and KPMG Advisory.

LinkedIn


​​Joe Weston

We Are Social Sport | Head of Sport
Bio

Joe has over a decade of experience in sports marketing, producing award winning campaigns for the likes of adidas, Real Madrid CF, IOC, ATP, Playstation, Mastercard, Guinness and many, many more. We Are Social sport produces game changing sports marketing designed to help brands, sponsors and rights holders get closer to the action, embrace culture and participate in the ever evolving sports marketing landscape.

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​​Satu Härkönen

Stora Enso | Head of Media
Bio

Satu Härkönen is a member of steering committee in Stora Enso’s FIS Nordic World Ski Championships Planica 2023 project. She has been working for Stora Enso since 1995 and carried various positions in supply chain, sales, marketing and communication. She was leading the Lahti 2017 project, when Stora Enso was the presenting sponsor of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships for the first time. Part of the global bioeconomy, Stora Enso is a leading provider of renewable products in packaging, biomaterials, wooden construction and paper, and one of the largest private forest owners in the world. They believe that everything that is made from fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow.

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​​Stefan Krauss

Infront | Vice President Wintersport
Bio

Stefan Krauss has been involved in the sports industry for over two decades. Originally a professional skier – representing Germany at five Alpine World Ski Championships – he joined Infront in 2012, firstly to head up its Austria office before also taking on the role of Vice President Winter Sport. Prior to this he was the Deputy Secretary General of the German Ski Federation (DSV) and Managing Director of DSV Marketing GmbH. He has held previous positions in skeleton and bobsleigh, acting as the Secretary General and Sports Director of the German Bobsleigh and Luge Federation. This led to him stepping up to become a member of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation Executive Board and Vice President of Marketing. He was part of the organising committees for the 2004 IBSF World Championships in Königssee and 2011 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Garmisch, acting as Chief of Organisation and Executive Board Member respectively.

LinkedIn


​​Enzo Smrekar

Ski Association of Slovenia | President
Bio

Enzo Smrekar spent his first years in business working for leading international companies such as Philip Morris, Diageo and LVMH, before joining Droga Kolinska one of the leading Slovenian food companies in 2004. In 2010, his key role was the successful integration of Droga Kolinska in to Atlantic Grupa. Atlantic Grupa, one of the largest food companies, is one of the most dynamic business systems in the region which realises a significant portion of its business activities in the EU. Today he is Group Vice President for Savoury spreads, Donat Mg and international expansion. In 2010 he joined Ski Association of Slovenia as Vice President. In 2013 at the SAS general assembly, he was unanimously elected as President. He is also the founder of the Vitae Foundation, which helps athletes integrate into business after their sporting careers. As President of the Organizing committee of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships Planica 2023 he leads a team of experts that will welcome the biggest event ever held in Slovenia. Enzo Smrekar has an MBA degree and has successfully finished the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School in 2019. Among others, he has been named Advertising personality of the year in 2018, and Manager of the year in 2020. He is serving his second term as FIS Council member and was also appointed as the treasurer last year.


​​Nika Kunstelj

adidas Runtastic | Marketing Manager
Bio

Nika Kunstelj is an experienced marketing professional, particularly in the area of strategy and digital marketing. Currently, she is the CRM Manager for Adidas Sport Apps and a former Senior Consultant at EY. She has been involved in organizations like the European Olympic Committees (EOC), different sports clubs, as well as brands within the sports industry for the last decade in Canada, Germany, Italy, Austria and Slovenia. In her role at adidas, she has been crafting unique digital user journeys, bringing valuable experiences to users while increasing sports credibility.


​​Tina Maze

Alpine Skiing Great
Bio

Born in May 1983 in Slovenj Gradec, Tina Maze made her first ski turns at the age of three. Already in the gymnasium in Ravne, she joined the B team of the national team. In 2008, Tina and her coach and partner Andrea Massi established their own private competition team, Team to aMAZE, which turned out to be a complete hit. Success has become synonymous with her skiing in all World Cup disciplines from slalom to downhill (26 victories in total), and since 2008 she has not returned from any World Championships or Olympic Games without a medal. She is still the absolute record holder for the number of points scored in one World Cup season (2,414). She said goodbye to the snowy slopes in January 2017 at the home race for the Golden Fox trophy in Maribor.
After her career, she successfully completed the studies of the classroom teaching at the University of Maribor. In 2018, she also became the mother of a daughter Anouk, and after the active career she still collaborates with the ski manufacturer Stöckli, she is the skiing pundit by Eurosport and ambassador of the Slovenia’s country brand I Feel Slovenia.