The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has appointed Janet Heckman as its new managing director for the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region.

Heckman will start her new role on February 1, succeeding Hildegard Gacek, who is retiring. She will be based in Cairo and will also take on the role as head of Egypt.

The EBRD expanded operations to the SEMED region in 2012, and Gacek played a key role in launching the bank’s activities across Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.

This year, the bank plans to roll out new offices in Alexandria, Egypt and Tangier, Morocco.

Heckman joined the EBRD in July 2012 as director for Kazakhstan, based in Almaty. Before joining the EBRD, she was a managing director with Citi, where she led corporate and commercial activities in the regions where the EBRD also invests.

Commenting on her new role, Heckman says: “I know that taking over from Gacek will be a hard act to follow and I would like to pay tribute to her achievements. My focus going forward will be the promotion of the private sector and creating conditions under which it can thrive and contribute to creating jobs.”