Managing Directors

Dr. Ilona Schadl

Dr. Ilona Schadl is one of the Managing Directors for GFA Consulting Group. She is responsible for supervising several technical departments along with the HR and recruiting areas. She is a trained economist with a Masters in Development Studies and a PhD in International Relations. Her career includes more than 20 years of experience in the field of international cooperation in Asia and Africa focusing on economic development, both as an expert in the field and as a project manager.

Anja Desai

Anja Desai is one of the Managing Directors for GFA Consulting Group. She owns double degrees in political science and public administration with over 25 years of professional experience. She has been working and living in South Asia and Southern Africa; considering a regional footprint to be an essential ingredient required for international cooperation. Her experience is grounded in the steerage of complex international projects, leading project teams and devising strategic projects. Anja represents GFA in relevant industry working groups and welcomes collaboration.

Dr. Heiko Weißleder

Dr. Heiko Weißleder is the Managing Director for Finance, Administration, Quality Management and Compliance of GFA Consulting Group since 2009. His career with GFA began as a consultant for agricultural economics in 1996. In 2000 he became Managing Director of GFA Medica, the Health Consulting company for the GFA Group, which subsequently became a department of GFA Consulting Group in 2005. His versatile consulting experience developed across various African countries, in the Maghreb, the Near East, the Caucasus and Indonesia.

Division Director

Dr. Daniel Wahby

Dr. Daniel Wahby is the Head of GFA’s Climate & Energy Cluster. He has worked with GFA since 2001 and joined the Management Board in 2019. For much of his career, he worked as an expert and team leader in agriculture and rural development projects in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia. He joined GFA’s Management Team in 2008 to lead the regional department Maghreb & Middle East and later Europe, Middle East, North Africa. Daniel currently promotes GFA’s strategy on Climate and Energy aiming to enhance GFA’s climate change mitigation and adaptation services across GFA Group. Daniel is also responsible for GFA’s Sustainability Management.

Department Directors

Operational Departments

Afrim Kalanderi

Afrim Kalanderi is the Director of the Water, Sanitation & Waste Management Department. He has 20 years of professional experience in the management of water, sanitation and waste management projects within the context of development cooperation. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration, from the Freie Universität Berlin, with a focus on development finance. His international experience began with the management of financial operations for four water companies within a World Bank project in Albania. He has held responsibility in various institutional strengthening projects to lead multidisciplinary teams in implementing performance improvement measures in areas of water supply and sanitation in different parts of the world.

Paul van der Poel

Paul van der Poel is the Director of the Natural Resources and Environment Department. During his studies, he focused on social forestry in Indonesia, followed by working in several long-term projects in Colombia on Forest Management, and Agroforestry in Costa Rica. From 1993-1999 he worked as consultant and team leader for GFA in a GIZ-funded Black River Social Forestry Project. Thereafter he became the Head of the Asia Department in Hamburg, while regularly undertaking assignments with KfW on forest project identification and formulation, mainly in East Asia, as well as numerous backstopping missions. Paul holds a Master in Agricultural Science with a specialisation in tropical forestry from the Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands. While his mother tongue is Dutch, he is fluent in English and German, with working knowledge in Spanish, and some French, Portuguese, Vietnamese and Indonesian.

Tomas Keilbach

Tomas Keilbach is the Director of the Governance Department and Head of the Monitoring & Evaluation Unit.

Dr. Mareike Meyn

Dr. Mareike Meyn is the Director of the Private Sector Development Department and has been with GFA for over a decade. Being a trade economist by training, Mareike had previously worked for GFA as an expert, consultant and Portfolio Manager in the fields of Private Sector Development, Trade and Quality Infrastructure, both at the GFA headquarters and GFA projects. She spent four years working for GIZ as Head of Program in Kosovo and Nigeria and also worked as an EU key expert for a trade project in Bangladesh. Mareike holds a PhD on Development Economics from the University of Bremen, with English fluency and a working knowledge of French.

Ulrich Theuerkauf

Ulrich Theuerkauf is the Director of the Energy Department since 2019. He is a graduated political scientist with over 30 years of working experience within the international context. He initially worked in the area of adult education, management training and SME development. Ulrich joined GFA in 2006. He was responsible for private sector development projects. He gradually became engaged within the energy sector with focus on energy efficiency, municipal infrastructure programs and energy policies. Ulrich’s vision is for GFA’s energy sector team to recognizably contribute to the global energy transition.

Inke Hase

Inke Hase is the Director of the Education, Skills & Employment Department. She is an economist by profession with long-standing professional experience both in Germany as well as abroad. In the field of Technical and Vocational Education, she has a considerable track record in delivering training and the facilitation of multi-stakeholder networks. In recent years, Inke and her team have been exploiting innovative approaches for the digital delivery of TVET. Innovation has been her main driving force throughout her professional career. Inke is fluent in English and has a good working knowledge in French and Russian.

Diana Cordes

Diana Cordes is the Director of the Financial Systems Management Department. She joined GFA in 2007, before she worked as banking and management consultant in two banks in Mozambique and Angola. Diana has been working within international development cooperation for over 15 years managing, implementing and steering technical assistance projects in the financial sector in Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Her focus areas are Micro and SME Finance as well as Green and Sustainable Finance. Diana holds a Master Degree from the University of Cologne and she is a Certified Professional for Renewable Energy Finance (CPREF), and a Certified Expert for Sustainable Finance.

Joachim Gromotka

Joachim Gromotka is the Director of the Health Department.

Christian Rake

Christian Rake is the Director of the Agriculture & Rural Development Department. He holds an M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics and his core expertise covers water and soil resources management, participatory irrigation development, delegated water management, capacity development and funds management. He has been a permanent staff member of GFA for 30 years and has served in different functions, i.e. several long-term assignments as expatriate team leader and countless short-term expert missions in Africa, MENA, Asia and the Balkans. He combines hands-on technical and managerial experience for implementing projects with sound knowledge of donor administrational procedures. He is fluent in German, French and English.

Cristian Ferreri

Cristian Ferreri is GFA's Public Finance Department Director since October 2019. Prior to this, he worked for more than 10 years as a consultant and portfolio manager in the international cooperation sector and more specifically Public Finance Management, Regional Development, M&E and Private Sector Development, in projects financed by disparate donors. Cristian holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in political science with a specialization in international relations from the University of Rosario (Argentina) and a Master's Degree in Advanced International Studies from the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna (Austria). “There is no SDGs Financing without Public Finance!”

Specialized Units

Dr. Linda Kleemann

Dr. Linda Kleemann coordinates the Digital Innovation Cluster at GFA Consulting Group. She also leads the Digital Innovation Unit that specialises in data-driven services, and digital strategy and policy. Linda has worked in numerous data projects, involving data collection and acquisition, processing, analysis and visualization, as well as the setting up of monitoring and information systems. As an economist with a PhD in Agricultural Economics, her background is in empirical research, in particular impact evaluations in Africa. Prior to joining GFA in 2015, she worked at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

Christian Caspar

Christian Caspar is the Director of the Framework Contracts (FWC) Unit, that was first established in 2018 as a result of increased framework contracts being launched by the contracting agencies. Cristian holds a Master in Development Sociology from the University of Bielefeld. He joined GFA in 2017 as a consultant at the Health department and soon took over the coordination of the FWC Unit. Later, he moved to the Education, Skills and Employment department, which was leading a consortium for EU Framework Contracts. Christian has more than 20 years of experience in development cooperation and has worked in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Joachim Schnurr

Joachim Schnurr is Head of the Climate Competence Center.

Christine Fröhlich

Christine Fröhlich is the Director of the C³ Unit for Better Learning. She has almost 30 years of experience in development cooperation and works for capacity development projects worldwide. As a trained banker holding a Degree in Economic Geography, she was initially engaged in private sector development and micro finance in the first part of her career. During the last two decades, she shifted her focus to better learning and training. An additional Master Degree in Adult Education has recently reinforced this working experience. German is her mother tongue, but she is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese due to long residencies in various countries.

Administrative Departments

Dr. Edda Meinheit

Dr. Edda Meinheit is the Director of the Recruitment and Human Resources Department.

Peter Utermöhl

Peter Utermöhl is the Director of the Controlling Department. He holds a degree in economics with additional education in controlling analysis. Peter gained experience in finance and controlling in an engineering company seperate to GFA. Starting as a one-man show in controlling and financial analysis in the early years of GFA, he contributed toward the company’s growth via developing the controlling department. He and his team aim to provide the managerial staff with all the necessary data required to successfully lead the company.

Isabella Zubrzycka

Isabella Zubrzycka ist the Director of the Financial Project Management Department. Shas been working for GFA Consulting Group GmbH since 1998. After completing her commercial training and studying business administration, she started in the FIP department and became head of the department in 2020.

Britta Borkers

Britta Borkers has been working for GFA since May 2014 where she heads the financial accounting. She is responsible for the accounting of the GFA Consulting Group, selected group companies, and the consolidation of the entire GFA Group that includes the consolidated financial statements. Ms. Borkers holds a degree in balance sheet accounting with accounting experience gained from various companies within Berlin and Hamburg. For the financial accounting department, broad spectrums of international projects provide various stimulating challenges and an exciting range of tasks.

Natascha Pleß

Natascha has been the PR Manager for GFA since 2006. While studying pedagogy with a focus on environmental education, she took on her first job in an agency that introduced a new recycling system in Hamburg – marking the beginning steps along her path into public relations. After subsequent employment within a major newspaper at Axel Springer Publisher House and Greenpeace, her move across into agency work then followed on - from one of the first "Dot.Com" companies to a focal publishing house for medicine and pharmacology. Marketing for GFA means less colourful advertising, but above all serious communication on diverse and fact-based projects, that hold global significance, is what provides meaning to PR work at GFA.

Anke Küsel

Anke Küsel is Head of the Quality Management & Compliance Unit.


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