German Attorney at Law
Hans-Michael Kraus is a Partner and the practice group leader of the International Practice of Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP. He has been with the law firm since 1983. Mr. Kraus is admitted as an attorney in the United States (Georgia) as well as in Germany. He is representing a large number of German, Swiss and Austrian companies and their respective U.S. subsidiaries and works almost exclusively in the field of international business transactions. He has particular expertise in structuring cross-border investments, corporate acquisitions, and joint ventures in Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Mr. Kraus regularly advises multinational companies on all legal issues involved in setting up facilities in the United States, including negotiation of state and local grants, tax abatements and related real estate, environmental and labor issues. The focus of industrial representations is in mechanical and plant engineering, pharmaceutical and medical products, food, automotive, and robot technology.
Mr. Kraus is a frequent speaker, both domestically and abroad, on legal and tax aspects of international transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and conducting business in the United States. He is the author of numerous articles in legal and other publications on the subject matter of international business transactions.
Partner | Dipl. -Kfm. | MBA | CPA
Arnold Servo lives and works in Houston, Texas, and is one of the Managing Partners at Rödl & Partner in the USA. He has been with the company since 2004 and is an expert in the areas of U.S./German and U.S./Austrian Cross-Border Tax Compliance and Consulting, U.S. GAAP, IFRS, and HGB Attest-Services, U.S. Market entry advice.
His focus is primarily on the industrial fields of automotive, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, distribution, logistics, software, IT services, entertainment, and professional services.
Mr. Servo is originally from Augsburg, Germany. He holds a degree in business administration from the University of Augsburg (Germany) and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Dayton (Ohio, USA). He is also an approved U.S. Tax advisor/auditor (Certified Public Accountant).
Mr. Servo is a frequent guest speaker at various industrial associations (e.g. VDMA) as well as at numerous chambers of commerce (e.g. IHK, GACC, WKÖ).
Partner | WP | StB | CPA
Maik Friebe was born in Halle/Westfalen, Germany and moved to Atlanta, Georgia (USA) in 2011 where he is one of the Partner at Rödl & Partner in the U.S. After graduating from the University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld he was appointed as certified German Tax Advisor in 2005 and certified German Public Accountant in 2010. Before settling down in the United States Mr. Friebe worked with a Big 4 firm for 11 years. Since 2013 Mr. Friebe is licensed as a U.S. Certified Public Accountant in Georgia.
Mr. Friebe is a frequent speaker on accounting, tax and general business aspects of establishing subsidiaries in the U.S. market. He provides assurance services, including audits of consolidated financial statements (US-GAAP, IFRS and HGB) for manufacturing and distribution companies in various industries including automotive, construction, engineering, media, and professional services. Furthermore, he aids with due diligence projects and market entry (site selections) projects.
CHRISTOPHE VAN GOOL
Director Global Solutions
Christophe is originally from Belgium and has worked in the insurance industry for his entire career throughout several countries in Europe. Prior to moving to the U.S., he worked in the Lloyd’s of London insurance market handling global insurance programs. Christophe has 30 years of experience in placing and handling international business. Christophe is multilingual and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Risk Management and Insurance from the University of Antwerp, a Master’s Degree in International Management from the University of Brussels, and a post-graduate degree in Business Management from the University of Louvain.
He is invited to speak regularly on panels in Europe on U.S. product liability and insurance-related topics. Christophe is currently the Director of Global Solutions at EPIC and advises foreign-owned companies in the U.S. on risk management and insurance issues.
Head of International
Kim-André Vives joined SÜDVERS in October 2003. Mr. Vives holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of Cooperative Education in Mannheim, has more than 17 years experience in the insurance industry. In 2006 Kim-André Vives became an Account Executive and Producer at SÜDVERS.
Since 2012 Kim-André Vives is a Member of the Management Board at SÜDVERS. Mr. Vives became head of the Freiburg branch in 2017. In the international broker network WBN, Mr. Vives is a member of the European Steering Committee. Mr. Vives is also an active member of the German American Chamber of Commerce (GACC).
He was born in Freiburg in 1979 and lives there today with his wife and two sons.
Max Kichniawy is originally from Germany and currently resides and works in Atlanta, GA as well as in Düsseldorf, Germany. He is the CEO of gatc L.P. which he joined in 2010 and which was originally founded as “German American Trade Center” in 1983. In this function, Max Kichniawy is responsible for the local operations and back-offices of currently more than 30 U.S. subsidiaries of international, primarily German-speaking, companies that expanded their business to the United States of America.
He studied International Management (B.A.) at the International School of Management (ISM) in Dortmund, Germany, and Malaga, Spain, and has a degree (M.A.) in Entrepreneurial Management from the Regent’s University London (European Business School).
Max Kichniawy is a frequent speaker at Transatlantic business events, for various local IHKs, Select USA, BVMW, Trade Fairs, and various other organizations.
TILMAN H. BENDER
TILMAN H. BENDER is the founder of the largest German-American executive search firm. TH Bender & Partners, Inc. specializes in executive recruitment for US subsidiaries of DACH companies while focusing on the selection and placement of executives compatible with medium-sized, small cap, yet global companies. Starting in 2006, with his team of recruiting experts, Tilman Bender has placed more than 700 executives in the USA.
Mr. Bender was born in Germany and studied Business Administration and Economics majoring in International Management, Organizational Development and Business Psychology at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart. After graduating, he gained many years of international experience in Hong Kong prior to moving to the United States in the mid-1990s.
Mr. Bender is a sought-after speaker for seminars and panel discussions on the subject of leadership assessment and the establishment and management of US subsidiaries; his publications can be found in trade journals and newspapers. A recent contribution on the topic of leadership competency assessment and corporate success of US subsidiaries has been published in the “Exportjahrbuch Außenwirtschaft 2023“ by MWM.
MARKUS SCHMAUDER Markus Schmauder started his career in the banking business in 1993 with an apprenticeship. After graduating from University he worked as Relationship Manager for corporate customers at LBBW. From 2011 to 2015 Markus Schmauder was Head of the Corporate & Institutional Banking Department of LBBW NY Branch. Together with his team, he was responsible for advising and financing corporate clients from the DACH Region in the US and Canada. Since the end of 2015, Markus Schmauder has been Head of Trade & Export Finance for the Regions Bavaria, Region East, and South/East Württemberg and he also coordinates the Corporate Desks in NY and Mexiko with the Head Office.
In his presentation, Markus Schmauder mainly addresses the financing of subsidiaries from the DACH region in the USA and the services of the Landesbank Baden-Württemberg New York Branch. (Financing, Standby Letters of Credit, Investing, Hedging, and Market Entry).
In this context, Markus Schmauder explains why it can be difficult for companies from the DACH area to get financing from a local US bank (issue of missing credit history, etc.) as well as the advantages of local financing (such as via LBBW NY) versus intercompany financing.