Country Risk Solutions

International Insurance BrokerageDaniel Wagner is the CEO of Country Risk Solutions (CRS), a cross-border risk advisory firm based in Connecticut (USA). He has more than a quarter century of experience managing country risk, is an authority on political risk insurance (PRI) and analysis, and has 15 years of underwriting experience with AIG, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), GE, and the World Bank Group.

Prior to founding CRS in 2009 Daniel was Senior Vice President of Country Risk at GE Energy Financial Services in Stamford, Connecticut. At GE he was part of a team investing billions of dollars annually into global energy projects, with a total portfolio of $20 billion of assets in 20 countries. Daniel was responsible for advising senior management on a variety of country risk-related issues, strategic planning, and portfolio management. He created a Center of Excellence for country risk analysis in GE and led a team that produced a comprehensive automated country risk rating methodology.

Daniel began his career at AIG in New York and subsequently spent five years as Guarantee Officer for the Asia Region at the World Bank Group's Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) in Washington, D.C. During that time he was responsible for underwriting PRI for projects in a dozen Asian countries. After then serving as Regional Manager for Political Risks for Southeast Asia and Greater China for AIG in Singapore, Daniel moved to Manila, Philippines where he was Guarantee and Risk Management Advisor, Political Risk Guarantee Specialist, and Senior Guarantees and Syndications Specialist for the ADB's Office of Cofinancing Operations. Over the course of his career Daniel has also held senior positions in the PRI brokerage business.

Daniel has published more than 500 articles on risk management and current affairs. His editorials have been published in such notable newspapers as the International Herald Tribune and the Wall Street Journal. Daniel has published three books:  "Political Risk Insurance Guide", "Managing Country Risk", and the forthcoming "Global Risk Agility and Decision Making" (co-authored by Dante Disparte).

He holds master's degrees in International Relations from the University of Chicago and in International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) in Phoenix. He received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from Richmond College in London. Daniel is a Non-Resident Scholar at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis and a regular contributing writer to the National Interest, Huffington Post, South China Morning Post, and many others.


Senior Advisor, China

Greg Anderson has had a two decade relationship with Asia and is a specialist on doing business in China. Through his consulting practice -- Pacific Rim Advisors -- he provides research and advice on political risk mitigation, business/government relations and business strategy in Asia. Greg has held a variety of positions in finance - ranging from analyst to CFO to Finance Director for Charles Schwab's Tokyo-based joint venture. He has also taught management at two universities in Chengdu, Sichuan. Greg holds an MBA from Golden State University, an MA in Asia-Pacific Studieces from the University of San Francisco, and a PhD in political science from UCLA. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.


His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, China Economic Quarterly, Forbes and the East Asia Forum, and he has been a guest on National Public Radio, the BBC, and Bloomberg television. His book -- "Designated Drivers: How China Plans to Dominate the Global Auto Industry" (Wiley, 2012) -- is based on original research and explains the nature of industrial planning and business-government relations in China.

Senior Advisor, Cross-Border Investments

Rauf Diwan has had a long and distinguished career at the forefront of global investment. He was most recently CEO of Emerging Markets Partnership (EMP) Bahrain and managed the $730 million IDB Infrastructure Fund covering the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Previously, Rauf was the CEO of the Asset Management Division of Atlantic Capital in Doha, Qatar, and CEO of EMP’s first AIG Asian Infrastructure Fund (sponsored by AIG). He earlier served as Managing Director of the AIG Asian Infrastructure Fund II (a US$1.7 billion fund) and was instrumental in developing and executing EMP’s successful strategy for both Funds in South Korea. During this time he served on the board of several Asian companies, including subsidiaries of international companies such as Suez and Cemex.

Before joining EMP, Rauf was with the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation for 15 years in a number of senior roles. He was Director of the global Power Department where he was responsible for investments in emerging markets worldwide. He was also Manager of the East Asia Division.

Rauf has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Oregon State University and an MBA from Columbia University, where he was a DuPont Fellow. He is also a graduate of the Stanford University Executive Program.


Senior Advisor, Risk Assessment

Nicki Kons has more than 15 years of experience as a specialist in risk identification using a variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques to assess risk. She has worked with global companies to identify and manage risks for technically challenging projects in a diverse range of political environments. Nicki has addressed many different aspects of risk that companies may face when operating internationally, from risk management techniques to identification of systemic risks to proficiency through training.


Nicki holds a BS.c in Industrial Engineering and an MBA from the Technion Institute of Technology, and an MA in Diplomacy and Security from Tel Aviv University. She is PMI (Project Management Institute), RMP (Risk Management Professional) and PMP  (Project Management Professional) certified.


Director of Country Risk Analysis


Christopher McKee is CEO/Chair of the PRS Group, a firm specializing in political risk assessment. Chris also functions as the Editor-in-Chief of the company’s International Country Risk Guide.

He received his Ph.D. in international political economy from Queen’s University in 1994 and was a faculty member at the University of British Columbia from 1993 to 1998. During these years he operated a private consultancy on country risk assessment for private and public entities with commercial interests in emerging markets. Subsequently, Chris worked in the private and government sectors conducting due diligence assessments of limited recourse financing projects in the Latin American mining and oil and gas sectors, formulating sovereign debt sustainability models, and constructing micro-financing facilities.

Chris is the author of several books, monographs and privately commissioned reports addressing issues affecting international business, and has lived and worked in a range of emerging markets including Latin America, South East Asia and North Africa. He has been interviewed or quoted by such publications as LatinFinance, Institutional Investor, Euromoney, Reuters, CIO, and has appeared on CNBC’s “Street Signs”.

Director of Crisis Communications

David Wagner is a leading authority on business communications skills and has conducted more than 1,200 media and crisis trainings since 2001. Over the past quarter century he has conducted more than 4,000 workshops in North America, Asia and the Middle East for approximately 350 organizations, including Barclays Capital, Ericsson, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, and Merck.

David is the author of 20 books on business communications, with translations in Japanese, Korean and Chinese. He has lectured extensively on business communications skills at the Institute of Public Administration and Management in Singapore and Waseda University in Tokyo.

Early in his career David worked as a reporter for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. In Japan he subsequently became a columnist for the Mainichi Daily News and subsequently the Daily Yomiuri. More recently, David created and hosted two nationally televised series in Japan on NHK teaching international business skills.

David received a Master’s Degree from the Monterey Institute of International Policy Studies in California where he specialized in Japan’s economic and political system.


Director of Eurasia and the Near East


Dr. Theodore Karasik is Senior Advisor at Risk Insurance Management in Dubai, UAE. Prior to this, he was a Senior Political Scientist in the International Policy and Security Group at RAND Corporation. From 2002-2003 he served as Director of Research for the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy. Dr. Karasik has worked on Central Asian, Russian, Caucasian and Arabian Peninsula issues for 25 years regarding nuclear proliferation, security and terrorism questions including transnational terrorist groups, clan structures, politics, and criminal organizations. He was RAND’s leading Saudi analyst during from 2001-2008 and conducted numerous field surveys and analytical reports for a variety of clients. Dr. Karasik developed a model called “Saudiology” to understand better traditional Arabian Peninsula societies. He has also conducted rigorous analyses on Russian military and security doctrine.


Director of Russian Affairs

Linda Wetzel is an international business consultant specializing in country risk forecasting and business intelligence. As an adjunct professor at The Thunderbird School of Global Management for 20 years, she taught these subjects, among others. While there she created and led the Russian Field Seminar in the Executive MBA Program and regularly made presentations in the School's Corporate Learning programs for a variety of clients, such as Citigroup and Raytheon. Linda pioneered an experiential learning paradigm that involved assigning students as consultants to SMEs in Jordan, which was Thunderbird's first foray into post-9/11 Middle East.


Prior to embarking on her career at Thunderbird, Linda worked for nearly two decades as a manager of analysts and an intelligence officer at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, focusing on Soviet and post-Soviet affairs. She subsequently broadened her research interests to encompass the Second and Third Worlds, and to focus on economic and social development as a risk mitigator. Linda  holds a Master's degree from Harvard University and a Bachelor's degree cum laude from Bryn Mawr College. She also earned certification in the Russian language and culture from Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) State University.

Director of Geopolitical Analysis

An urban and political geographer at DePaul University in Chicago, Professor Alex Papadopoulos is an expert in the intersection of political process and urban change.

His current research includes two projects: a study of the role of geospatial technologies in the emergence of an American “security state”, and a grant-supported study of the spatial logics of the Vincentian ‘praxis’ in early state formation in France.

Dr. Papadopoulos’ published work includes a significant monograph on the urban impacts of European integration in the restructuring of Brussels' downtown, and a collection of articles on the urban impacts of market reform and political liberalization in St. Petersburg, Russia. His political geographic research includes works on identity formation and international security in the Southern Balkans.

He has a Master’s degree in International Relations and a PhD in Political Geography from the University of Chicago.

Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs

Dr. Srilal M. Perera, a Sri Lankan national, is presently Adjunct Professor of Law and International Research Scholar in Residence at the Washington College of Law of the American University in Washington DC. He retired in 2010 from the World Bank Group’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) after having served there for 21 years, 11 years of which as the Agency’s Chief Counsel. He was MIGA’s project counsel for some of the most complex investment projects in all sectors, for which MIGA issued political risk insurance, principally in Asia and Africa. He was also for a brief period Acting Vice President and General Counsel of MIGA.

Srilal has extensive prior international legal experience working with multilateral organizations. From 1986 to 1989 he served as an attorney at the Iran–United States Claims Tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, where he was also Legal Assistant to the President of the Tribunal (1988-89). He has extensive global experience in international investment transactions, claims adjudication, including alternative dispute resolution, and is a recognized specialist on international law, political risk insurance, investment arbitration and issues of State Responsibility with several key publications on those subjects.

Srilal received his legal education at the University of Sri Lanka where he earned an LL.B., and a Master’s Degree in International Affairs at the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University, with specialization in international law and international economics. He completed his Ph.D. at Georgetown University with specialization in International Law and International Relations. Srilal later completed the Executive Development Program at the Harvard University Business School.

He was nominated and appointed by the Government of Sri Lanka to the Panel of Arbitrators and Conciliators of Sri Lanka, of the prestigious International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington DC.


Director of Middle Eastern Affairs


Charles Kestenbaum is widely recognized as an expert in Middle Eastern Affairs. He served for 24 years in the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service at U.S. embassies in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia. In addition to supervising the U.S. Rebuild Kuwait program in 1991 for the U.S. Department of Commerce, he also served as Commercial Liaison office director in the U.S. Executive Director's office of the World Bank.

Charles has negotiated trade agreements, counseled U.S. and international companies on all aspects of establishing and running businesses in the Middle East, and conducted extensive research throughout the region. Since leaving the U.S. government in 2002, he has been a Middle East business consultant to Fortune 500 companies, has established several security companies in Iraq, and has worked as a director of business development for a leading international risk management and investigation firm.

Charles is a lecturer and teacher, including preparing foreign service officers for embassy careers and diplomatic assignments through training programs at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center. He teaches courses in anti-corruption, competitiveness, how U.S. companies operate successfully abroad, how to forge private/public company relations, and how to support U.S. national security interests by U.S. embassies abroad.

He holds a master's degree from the American University in Cairo and a bachelor's degree in Arabic studies from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Charles has also completed post-graduate research at the Johns Hopkins school of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. He speaks Arabic, French, and Bahasa Indonesia.



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