We are a team of seasoned professionals with significant global and local business knowledge and deep SME investment expertise.
Jeffrey Liebert is the CEO of the fund manager Gazelle Finance and successfully raised $42M in capital commitments for the Gazelle Fund, which invests in SMEs in Central Asia, Caucasus, and East Europe. Prior to this Jeffrey was a co-founder of an alternative energy and carbon offset project development company, Verdeo Group, which was sold in 2011 to Sindicatum. Prior to Verdeo Group, Jeffrey was a Vice President for Climate Change Capital’s (acquired by Bunge) $1 billion carbon fund, where he was responsible for developing and managing a portfolio of industrial energy efficiency and methane gas utilization projects throughout Eurasia.
As an Investment Officer at IFC, Jeffrey led the development of a $30M in-house clean-tech venture capital fund that is now IFC’s Cleantech Investment Group with over $200M AUM. He structured a $465M energy efficiency finance and renewable energy risk sharing facility (CHUEE) with $46M of IFC capital in first and second loss positions with Chinese banks: Industrial Bank, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, and Bank of Beijing. The deal was the runner-up for the 2006 Financial Times Sustainable Deal of the Year Award. As of today the facility has mobilized over $6.3B in financing in over 200 projects.
Before IFC, Jeffrey consulted to multinational corporations on market entry strategies for China and established and managed textile factories throughout Central Asia and China. Jeffrey served in the Peace Corps in Mongolia immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union, holds an MBA from Wharton Business School, a BA in Russian Studies and International Relations from Tufts University, and speaks Mandarin, Mongolian, and Russian. Jeffrey serves on the board of The Taimen Fund, a conservation organization operating in Mongolia that he helped to establish in 2003.
Miranda Kherkheulidze joined Gazelle Finance in April 2017 and serves as its Finance Director. She brings over 15 years’ of experience working in the banking and finance industries, including: SME and corporate banking, credit, risk and financial management, and corporate finance. At different times Miranda has held various leadership positions in two of the leading banks in Georgia -- Bank Republic Société Générale Group and TBC Bank.
Prior to joining Gazelle Finance Miranda worked as the Head of Corporate Underwriting Department in TBC Bank where she was responsible for overseeing the Bank’s corporate portfolio of over USD 1.0 billion managing risk assessment and the structuring of deals up to USD 50M, and served as a full voting member of the highest tier Credit Committee with individual decision-making authority of USD 4M. Prior to TBC Bank Miranda was leading the Counterparty Risk Assessment Department for corporate and SME clients at Bank Republic, Société Générale (SG) Group, Georgia. Along with being responsible for assessing the origination and creating a high-quality portfolio, she was in charge of portfolio-level risk assessment, validation and maintenance of the risk rating and provisioning processes, as well as daily communication and reporting responsibilities to Risk Supervision division at SG Headquarters. Miranda revised and implemented the Bank’s overall credit granting, portfolio classification, monitoring and rating policies, risk assessment methodology, criteria and procedures.
As a Bank Advisor at CGF (Credit Guarantee Fund) Miranda provided consulting to three leading partner banks in Georgia, mainly in SME underwriting standards, loan assessment and approval processes. CGF was an SME financing and development project funded by KFW Entwicklungsbank and Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation (Sparkassenstiftung) targeting the Georgian and Armenian markets. Miranda supervised optimal investment of the Fund’s resources to Georgian SMEs through partner-banks, as well as managed periodic monitoring of the Fund’s portfolio and the overall financial performance of partner-banks.
Miranda also brings corporate finance expertise to Gazelle Finance having worked as the CFO for two operating companies: Iberia Construction (residential real estate development) and Treiquest Int. Group (multi-discipline construction and engineering).
Miranda holds a B.A. in Production Management from Free University of Georgia, Diploma of Business Economist from Berufsakademie Mosbach (DHBW) of Baden-Württemberg, Germany and MBA with specialization in Finance from Grenoble Graduate School of Business (GGSB). A native Georgian speaker Miranda is fluent in English and has good command of Russian and German.
Natia Janelidze joined Gazelle Finance in October 2015 as the Chief Investment Officer for Georgia and in October 2017 she successfully executed Gazelle Finance’s first investment in Georgia in Degusto, a fast casual restaurant chain. Natia has over 10 years of professional banking experience in SME and Corporate financing and has held senior leadership positions at TBC Bank and Bank Republic (part of Societe Generale Group), two of the leading banks in Georgia.
Prior to joining Gazelle Finance, Natia worked for over seven years at Bank Republic/Societe Generale in Georgia, holding a diverse set of senior management positions, with a particular focus on SMEs. Natia served as Head of the SME Credit Department of the bank, coordinating and managing over 40% of the bank’s total portfolio representing more than $30 million in loans assets, overseeing the front and back office staff engaged in sales and analytics, and participating on credit committees. During her tenure at the bank, Natia also served as Head of the SME and Corporate Portfolio Management Departments, as Head of the Quality Management Department, and as Special File Coordinator, where she was responsible for restructuring the loan for one of the biggest corporate clients of the Bank. Prior to joining Bank Republic/Societe Generale, Natia worked at TBC Bank, first as an SME Loan Officer where she originated a portfolio of loans operating in the branch office in Kutaisi, one of the largest regional centers outside of Tbilisi. She rose quickly in TBC Bank, starting with a promotion to become Head of the SME Development Department in Tbilisi, where she managed a team of 15 credits officers and back office staff across eight Tbilisi and regional branch offices with a portfolio of roughly $400 million in loans assets. She then was promoted to be the Head of the Corporate Sales Department, where she was responsible for originating new clients and expanding deposit, loan and off-balance sheet portfolio of the bank, and increasing interest and commission income. Natia holds an MBA from University of Missouri-Columbia in the United States and Ph.D in Finance and Banking from Georgian Technical University. Natia is fluent in English, Russian and Georgian.
Natia has investment experience in following market segments: SME, manufacturing, agribusiness and retail.
Zakar Boyajyan joined Gazelle Finance in July of 2014 as the Chief Investment Officer for Armenia. Zakar brings 22 years of finance, banking, risk management, and structured finance experience.
Zakar works for Unibank, one of the leading banks in the region as the First Deputy Executive Director, Chief Risk Officer, and a member of the Credit Committee. At Unibank Zakar manages a $260M loan portfolio with less than 4% default rate and oversees 65 individuals. He is also responsible for establishing the bank’s operating procedures and risk management policies. Prior to Unibank, Zakar worked as the Executive Director at Izmirlyan-Eurasia Universal Credit Company,where he managed a $25M loan portfolio without a single default. Prior to Izmirlyan-Eurasia, Zakar served as the Country Director of the $10.5M Small Business Loan Program at Eurasia Foundation, where he had a successful lending track record of financing companies in every region of Armenia, achieving less than a 2% default rate over a ten-year period. Zakar is highly experienced in both origination, risk and portfolio management, and is respected in the banking industry for his skill and successful track record of managing the default and collection processes according to the Armenian legal system. Zakar also served on various positions at the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Armenia and is a frequent lecturer with the leading universities in Armenia.
Zakar holds an MBA degree from the American University of Armenia and a bachelor's degree in economics from the National Institute of Economics in Yerevan. He is fluent in Armenian, English, and Russian.
Zakar has investment experience in following market segments: SMEs, agribusiness, retail, and financial services.
Independent Investment Committee Member
Rifat Utiushev joined Gazelle Finance in July 2014 and served as its Chief Investment Officer for Kyrgyzstan until the end of 2016. Currently Rifat serves in the capacity of the independent Investment Committee member until such time that Gazelle launces investment activities in Kyrgyzstan. Rifat has over 20 years of professional experience in corporate finance, banking, and private equity.
Prior to joining Gazelle, Rifat served as the Chief Financial Officer of the $300M Development Fund of the Kyrgyz Republic, where he managed over 20 people. Prior to joining the Development Fund he co-founded and served as the Chief Financial Officer of Yuzno-Kyrgyzskiy Cement company, based in the southern Kyrgyz regional center of Osh, where he raised and structured $110M of international financing from China Export-Import Bank, Kazakh BTA-bank and Investment Fund of Kazakhstan. Rifat led the sale of the company to an international investment fund successfully achieving the return expectations of his shareholders. Rifat also worked for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for 7 years, where he financed various projects in tourism, manufacturing, and other industries, including one of first equity investments by EBRD in real estate and construction materials in Kyrgyzstan.
Rifat holds an MBA degree from Bishkek International School of Business and Management. He is fluent in Russian, English, Kyrgyz and Uzbek. He serves on the board of BTA-Bank in Kyrgyzstan.
Rifat has investment experience in following market segments: tourism, manufacturing, real estate, and retail.
Emily Channon joined Gazelle Finance in October 2017 and serves as Operations Officer. Emily brings over 6 years of diverse financial experience with multiple companies, including auditing, investor relations, financial modeling, financial analysis, commercial banking and corporate banking.
Prior to joining Gazelle Finance, Emily worked at EBRD in the Manufacturing & Services team, as an Intern Analyst. At EBRD, she worked on several projects in Georgia and Azerbaijan with a total investment up to $50M, where she contributed as a project team member and was involved in project and covenant compliance monitoring, environmental and social compliance, due diligence, preparation of credit review and final review memoranda for direct financing projects and risk sharing projects and creating/updating financial models.
Prior to EBRD, Emily initially worked as an accountant and later as an auditor at Deloitte, which involved the preparation of asset, liability and capital account entries and the audit of financial statements in accordance with IFRS and US GAAP, agreed upon procedures and due diligence projects.
Emily also worked for JSC Bank Constanta as a Financial Reporting Officer where she prepared monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual financial reports for the bank’s creditors, analyzed the bank’s financial ratios and prepared contracts between the bank and the creditors.
Emily holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Hult International Business School with a concentration in Finance and Management. She successfully sat the F1F9 (FAST) modelling course and is working towards becoming a member of ACCA (she has passed the F1-F5 ACCA papers to date). Bilingual in English and Georgian, Emily also has good working knowledge of Russian.
Senior Investment Officer, Georgia
Giorgi Jobava joined Gazelle Finance in September 2017 as a Senior Investment Officer in Tbilisi, Georgia. Giorgi brings 7 years of professional experience working with two of the leading banks in Georgia TBC Bank and VTB Bank, focused on corporate and SME banking.
Prior to joining Gazelle Finance, Giorgi worked at TBC Bank, the largest bank in Georgia, in the position of Senior Analyst in the Corporate Department. He played a significant role in the successful execution of several big and strategically important loans for the bank. Giorgi managed a portfolio of USD 120 million comprising several big clients of the bank. His primary focus while working with TBC were the following sectors: Telecommunication, Financial Institutions, Transport and Logistics.
Prior to TBC bank, Giorgi worked as a business analyst and then as a Corporate Banker at VTB Bank Georgia. He was involved in structuring the largest corporate deals of the Bank. Giorgi managed a portfolio of about USD 25 million comprising with approximately 12 clients.
Giorgi holds B.A. in business administration from Tbilisi State University. He has finished several Master’s level courses in Sweden (Linnaeus University) in Business Administration. He successfully completed the courses in Financial Management and Financial Modeling.
Giorgi is fluent in Georgian, Russian and English languages.
Mikheil Tamasidze joined Gazelle Finance in March 2018 as a Senior Investment Officer in Tbilisi, Georgia. Mikheil has 9 years of professional banking experience in SME and Corporate financing and has held various positions at JSC VTB Bank Georgia, subsidiary of VTB Group.
Prior to joining Gazelle Finance, Mikheil worked at the corporate business development department at VTB Bank, holding a position of Senior Corporate Analyst. He managed portfolio of more than USD 45 million comprising of companies in different industries. Mikheil conducted respective business analysis and led corporate client’s recovery processes with creating detailed cash budget and controlling its implementation daily.
Prior to the corporate banking experience, Mikheil worked as SME Business Department and Trade Finance Department Analyst at VTB Bank Georgia.
Mikheil holds BBA degree with a major in finance from the Caucasus University. He also successfully completed Advanced Corporate Finance course at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Financial Modeling and Valuation courses at different Universities.
Mikheil is fluent in Georgian, English and Russian languages
Investment Officer, Armenia
Arman Hakobyan joined Gazelle Finance in November 2018 as an Investment Officer in Yerevan, Armenia. Arman brings 9 years of corporate and SME lending experience working with Pan-Armenian Development Bank and Ineco Bank, as well as 9 years of financial consulting experience at USAID and World bank funded projects focused on development of SME financing products, energy efficiency and student loan products.
Prior to joining Gazelle Finance, Arman worked at Pan-Armenian Bank, taking increasingly responsible roles in lending operations of the bank specialized in long-term financing of export-oriented SME projects. He played a significant role in shaping and successful execution of project-based lending with result of more than $10 million portfolio of loans to 21 export-oriented enterprises. As a corporate banker Arman started his experience at Ineco Bank, in the division of Lending through International Loan Programs, including WB Enterprise Development Program, Shorebank SME Credit Program, SME Loan Program of Eurasia Foundation. He managed a high-quality loan portfolio of about $6.7 million with 30 SME clients.
Arman holds an MBA with major in Finance from American University of Armenia and a Diploma of Economist with major in International Economic Relations from Yerevan State University. Arman is fluent in Armenia, English and Russian languages.
Senior Financial Analyst
Senior Accountant, Georgia
Chief Accountant, Armenia
Tatevik Galavaryan joined Gazelle Finance in July of 2018 as the Chief Accountant for Armenia. Tatevik brings over 9 years of diverse IFRS accounting experience in major Armenian finance organizations.
Prior to joining Gazelle Finance, Tatevik worked at Financial department of Ameria Group, which is the holding company for Ameriabank, one of the leading B2B banks in Armenia, were she managed a set of accounting activities to ensure compliance with generally accepted accounting principles, corporate policies and external audits. She managed the accounts payable function, payroll function, monthly closing of accounts and preparation of reports in support of the financial statements.
Prior to working at Ameria Group, Tatevik worked at “Farm Credit Armenia” UCO as a Senior Accountant with responsibilities including but not limited of preparing journal entries and reconciliations, delivering the monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual financial reports for the UCO’s management and Central Bank of Armenia.
Tatevik holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the Yerevan State University, and a master’s degree in accounting and audit from “International Accountancy Training Center" Educational Fund. She is working towards becoming a member of ACCA (she has passed the F1-F7 ACCA papers to date). Tatevik is fluent in Armenian, Russian and English.
Nino Sebiskveradze joined Gazelle Finance in August 2017 and serves as Executive Assistant and Office Manager. Nino brings over 10 years of administrative experience with multiple companies, including project management, administration, inventory management, communication, event coordination, procurement and marketing, as well as corporate social responsibility (CSR) experience and knowledge.
Prior to joining Gazelle Finance, Nino worked at microfinance organization Crystal as CSR Officer. At Crystal, she worked on several projects as a project coordinator where she contributed to the development, establishment and monitoring of modern standards of responsible lending and customer protection, environmental and social compliance, research on and establishment of international CSR best practices, provision of training to staff on CSR standards, research, measurement and evaluation of the social impact efficiency of the company and development of social responsible strategy and programs.
Prior to working at Crystal, Nino initially worked as an Assistant Project Manager at Todini-Takenaka in Kutaisi, Georgia, which involved the provision of interpretation services at meetings and preparation of documentation in accordance with contracts.
Nino also worked for TBC Bank as an Administrative Assistant where she managed all incoming and outgoing correspondence and official letters, prepared, filed and archived employment contracts, and worked with databases.
Nino holds an M.A. in Humanitarian Arts from Kutaisi Akaki Tsereteli State University with a concentration in Translation and Interpretation. Nino is fluent in English, Russian and Georgian.