Richard S. Lukaj, Greenwich, Connecticut, USA, Chairman
Richard Lukaj is a founder and Managing Partner of The Bank Street Group LLC, a US registered Broker Dealer headquartered in the New York metropolitan area. Rich has over 20 years of investment banking experience and has executed hundreds of transactions over the course of his successful investment banking career, ranging from mergers and acquisitions, underwriting of debt, equity and derivative securities, restructurings, exclusive sales and other financial advisory mandates. He has broad experience in a variety of industries including Media, Communications, Technology, Consumer, Retailing, Energy, Aerospace, Specialty Finance, Real Estate and Natural Resources.
Mr. Lukaj has been recognized as a significant voice for economic development, stability and pro-democratic initiatives in Southeastern Europe. Mr. Lukaj was the Chairman of the National Albanian American Council (NAAC), the leading organization in the United States with offices in Washington and throughout the Balkans. He developed a reputation with diplomats in the US and abroad for pragmatic thinking and acting as a reliable bridge between the region and the international community. Mr. Lukaj was honored for his work by the Republic of Albania by being selected as the Honorary Consul to the United States and later confirmed by the U.S. Department of State.
Mr. Lukaj has also been active in philanthropic activities throughout the region, both as a significant donor personally and prolific fundraiser. He was a founder and currently serves as the Chairman of the A.U.K., which has partnered with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Dartmouth University and other prominent educational institutions to deliver the highest quality accredited private education in Southeastern Europe. Mr. Lukaj was also a founder of the Hope Fellowship program, an organization partnered with USAID which provides leadership training for women of the Balkans and arranges for executive exchange programs with the largest corporations and governmental and non-governmental agencies of the United States. He also led the Hands of Hope campaign which targeted multi-year fundraising initiatives which raised funds and collaborated with organizations such as Mercy Corps., Americares and many others to transform the standard of living for orphans and young people in the region. More recently, Mr. Lukaj joined in founding the Foundation for Healthy Mothers and Children in Kosova in honor of his late daughter Adelina, which delivered over $500,000 in medical essential medical equipment and supplies to Kosova this year alone. Mr. Lukaj has also been a founder and/or supporter of APEN (Albanian Professional and Entrepreneurs Network), "Motrat Qiriazi", the leading Albanian women's organization, the Albanian American Cultural Foundation, the Albanian American National Organization and numerous other Albanian regional, religious, educational and cultural institutions.
In addition to his advocacy and philanthropic activities, Mr. Lukaj established the Lukaj Foundation and has been extremely active in promoting investment in the region and has led numerous business/investor delegations related to potential investments in the area. Mr. Lukaj has contributed to the development of investor conferences in the US and Europe related to potential investments in the Balkans, particularly focused on Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro. Mr. Lukaj also led delegation visits by various congressional groups, OSCE observation teams, international election monitors, various ambassadors and orchestrated and participated in the visits of President William J. Clinton and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other such dignitaries to the region.
Mr. Lukaj has personally known and interacted with many of the pertinent leaders of Albania since the fall of Communism and is seen as a non-partisan activist for Albania and Albanian affairs. Mr. Lukaj is also well known among the international entities that are engaged in the region, particularly the U.S. embassies in the region, UN, USAID, EBRD, the World Bank/IFC and NATO representatives in the area.