In view of the increasing importance of Sustainability and the Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives, VFS Global has appointed Dr. Elena Primikiri as its first-ever dedicated Head of ESG. She is based in Dubai, UAE and will report directly to the CEO, Zubin Karkaria. Elena will be responsible for increasing the sustainability components and ESG initiatives of VFS Global – from strategy formulation and implementation to operational control – to accomplish the goals set in her capacity as Head of ESG.
Elena brings with her a rich experience of 15 years in the consulting and banking sector. She has spent the last six months as a Senior Consultant of Sustainability in Sustainability Excellence, delivering sustainable strategies and action plans for clients in the GCC region. Prior to that, she was in ECHMES, a consulting firm in Greece, where she was Executive, Senior Business Consultant on Sustainability developing and implementing strategic operations and business development strategies for her clients on sustainability and ESG reporting. Her significant experience stems also from her ten years as a Director of Sustainable Banking at one of Greece's leading banks, Piraeus Bank, where she helped build the bank's sustainability strategy, action plan & sustainable products and services.
Joining Elena is Nirbhik Goel in the role of Deputy Chief Human Resources Officer, who is based out of Dubai too. Reporting to the Chief Human Resources Officer, Bernard Martyris, Nirbhik will be responsible for streamlining the HR function, ensuring greater operational synergies between the HR function across all regions and supporting the CHRO in strategic HR matters and policy development.
A Human Resources professional with experience in leading the HR function globally for renowned service sector companies, including Hospitality (hotels) and Financial Services, Nirbhik brings with him strong experience in several key HR functional areas such as Talent Management, Succession Planning, Learning and Development, Performance Management, and Coaching and Mentoring. He has led large HR teams across multiple locations and been responsible for managing substantial HR budgets.
In his previous roles, Nirbhik has worked as Managing Director and Global Strategic HR Business Partner for the CIO and Global Head of Operations at AIG based in the headquarters at New York; Managing Director and Head of HR-India at Barclays; and Vice President and Divisional Head of Human Resources for South West Asia at Hyatt Hotels Corporation. Most recently he held the position of Executive Vice President and CHRO at The Oberoi Group of Hotels.
The appointments of Dr. Elena Primikiri and Nirbhik Goel come close after Bapsy Dastur’s appointment as new General Counsel and Head of Corporate Risk, Compliance & Legal and induction to the Executive Board of VFS Global in 2021, making her the first woman board member. It would be interesting to see how the trio’s appointment at the strategic positions enables the company to chart further course in the choppy waters of the post-pandemic market.