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Charlotte Ruhe, who until recently had been running the successful EU/EBRD SME Finance Facility, has been appointed head of the EBRD’s Zagreb office in Croatia.

The project – established by the bank together with the European Commission in 1999 – today encompasses 32 bank clients, 21 leasing company clients and four investment funds, for which the EBRD has signed commitments of more than €700mn, while the EU has committed over €100mn. Ruhe is also an expert on municipal finance.

To further strengthen the EBRD’s operations in Croatia, Ruhe, who started working at the bank in 1995, will be joined in Zagreb by two bankers from the bank’s London headquarters, Vedrana Jelusic, principal banker in the agribusiness team, and Davor Indic, principal banker in the municipal and environmental infrastructure team.

Since its start of operations the EBRD has invested some €1.3bn in Croatia and has a strong pipeline for the coming years. The bank’s new strategy for Croatia is due to be discussed by the board of directors in early 2005.