Partners

Stefan
BORST
Stefan Borst is a partner at Avisa Partners. Before joining the Group, Stefan was a partner and one of the co-founders of International Dialogue Advisors (IDA Group). He is an expert in European policy, trade, industry and technology. During his 7 years as Brussels correspondent for FOCUS Magazine he has built a robust network of European policymakers and Brussels-based representatives of large international companies. Stefan regularly gives lectures on public affairs, public relations and European affairs and frequently acts as a moderator for panel discussions in both Brussels and Berlin.
Eric
BOVIM
Eric Bovim is an American entrepreneur and international strategic communications consultant based in Washington D.C. He has advised dozens of corporate clients worldwide on crisis communications, public affairs, and international dispute resolution. After several years in Spain as a foreign correspondent for Reuters and Dow Jones Newswires, he returned to Washington D.C. where he served as Communications Director for a U.S. Senator before working for several different consulting firms. In particular, he led Signal Group from 2013 to 2019, when he joined Avisa Partners to manage its American branch.
Andrea
COLLART
Andrea joined Avisa Partners in July 2016, first as director, then as a partner. He specialises in EU competition and advises blue-chip clients on M&A, antitrust and cartel cases. Andrea spent six years in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP), where he worked on high-profile cases in the financial, transport, energy and raw materials sectors, both in M&A and cartels. While at DG COMP, he gained in particular an in-depth understanding of settlement proceedings. Andrea also worked as a business strategy consultant in Germany. He studied law at LIUC-Cattaneo University and holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) in Milan. Andrea speaks Italian, French and English and understands Spanish and German.
Matthieu
CREUX
Matthieu CREUX is the founder and President of Avisa Partners since 2010. After his studies at Sciences Po Paris, he began his career as a public affairs consultant with Euro RSCG (Havas Worldwide) before moving to Ernst & Young. Matthieu was then an advisor to the French Minister for Higher Education between 2007 and 2009, where he was in charge of online strategies and special affairs. Over the course of his career, he has worked for a number of governments and large corporations, advising them on issues relating to activism, counter-activism and online advocacy. He is the author of the book Cyberdjihadisme : quand Internet repousse les frontières du champ de bataille, co-written with Antoine Violet-Surcouf (VA Éditions, 2020). He currently focuses on Avisa Partners’ strategy and development and is in charge in particular of the group’s acquisitions and organisation.
Arnaud
DASSIER
Arnaud Dassier is a French entrepreneur with a particular focus on the digital sphere, the media landscape and communications. After working at the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry, in 1998 he founded one of the first web agencies in France. For more than twenty years, Arnaud has been advising a number of large companies, organizations and individuals on their influence strategies. He was a consultant and service provider for the online campaigns of Jacques Chirac (2002), the UMP political party (2005-2007), and Nicolas Sarkozy (2007) before selling his firm in 2008. Since then, in addition to his activity as an angel investor, he has managed Avisa Partners’ international development, particularly in Washington, London, Brussels, and Eastern Europe.
Samuel
DRALET
Samuel Dralet has more than 20 years of experience working on cybersecurity issues. He is the former technical director of the cybersecurity subsidiary of Atheos, a pioneer in information systems security in France, today known as “Orange Cyberdefense”. He created Lexfo, the cybersecurity subsidiary of Avisa Partners, in 2011. With a team of around 60 cybersecurity engineers, LEXFO has quickly established itself as a major player on issues of security assessments and incident response.
Axel
DYÈVRE
Axel began his career as an officer in the French Army. He was then a strategic consultant from 1995 to 1997, before becoming a Senior Partner at DATOPS (now LexisNexis Business Information Solutions), a firm developing information systems, from 1997 to 2005. While at DATOPS, Axel devised and put in place monitoring and intelligence solutions for government agencies and large corporations. Axel was involved in CEIS since its inception in 1997, and joined it operationally in 2006, opening its European office in Brussels and developing its Strategic Intelligence practice. Axel is a graduate of the management administration programme at the Ecole supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP). He became a partner at Avisa Partners following the merger between Avisa and CEIS at the beginning of 2020.
Sylvain
FORT
Sylvain Fort joined Avisa Partners as a partner in 2020. He was previously the communications director for Emmanuel Macron’s presidential campaign and a speechwriter and communications advisor to the French President. Before joining the Elysée, he worked for Michel Pébereau, the chairman of BNP Paribas, between 2002 and 2008. He then became the Vice-President of BNP Paribas Corporate and Investment Banking before joining the team integrating BNL and BNP Paribas in Italy. After a period as the director of DGM Conseil between 2008 and 2010, he became the director of public affairs and communications of Scor. He then became the development director of Sia Partners in 2012, before co-founding Steele & Holt in 2013, a firm specialising in corporate and financial communication. A graduate of the École normale supérieure, passionate about opera and music criticism, Sylvain Fort is also a German scholar and a translator. An associate professor in classics, he began his career as a professor at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, where he taught literature for 8 years.
Ivo
ILIC GABARA
Ivo Ilic Gabara, founder of Gabara Strategies Ltd, is a public affairs and media relations specialist. He worked for ten years as a journalist accredited to the European institutions in Brussels, then as the spokesman and head of the European Commission’s Press and Information Office in charge of monitoring the crisis in Kosovo until the Dayton Peace Agreement. Over the years, Ivo has led global public affairs campaigns for several international organisations and governments. Before joining Avisa Partners in 2019, he was a consultant at APCO between 1999 and 2008, then a partner at the American public relations firm BGR Group, whose British subsidiary he managed between 2008 and 2015.
Holger
KNAPPENSCHNEIDER
Holger Knappenschneider, co-founder of International Dialogue Advisors (IDA Group) before joining Avisa Partners as a partner in 2019, is an expert in international law and economics. A lawyer by training, Holger has lent his legal expertise to several global corporations in the industrial and aerospace sectors, for whom he successfully led several projects in countries including Brazil, China and Japan. He also worked with a number of SMEs on their international market expansion strategies and has a great deal of experience in international negotiations. He currently runs the Berlin office of Avisa Partners, where he manages projects in Germany or within European institutions for large international corporations.
Jacques
LAFITTE
Jacques Lafitte founded the Brussels office of Avisa in 2002. He has more than 25 years of experience with the European Commission, both as a member of a Commissioner’s office as well as a key expert on commercial or competition-related issues. A graduate of the École Polytechnique in Paris, he began his career in the French and German Departments of Defence, before joining the French Treasury where he managed the debt department. From 1995 to 1999, he was in charge of the creation of the Euro in the office of the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs. He then worked at Microsoft as the EMEA Director of Public Affairs. In 2009, the Financial Times named him one of the “30 most influential figures in politics and legislation in Brussels”. Beyond the general supervision of all of Avisa Partners’ European projects, Jacques also works on all projects involving competition law.
Guillaume
LETALENET
Guillaume Letalenet joined Avisa Partners in 2020 to lead the investigation and compliance practice. He was previously a general officer in charge of public relations for the French Air Force and head of the Centre Etudes Réserves et Partenariat (CERPA). An aeronautical engineer who with a degree from the Ecole de l'Air (1987), General Letalenet obtained his fighter pilot license in 1991 and clocked over 3000 flying hours, including 120 war missions. A graduate of the Ecole de Guerre (CID), he was the commander of the Mont-de-Marsan air base between 2011 and 2013, one of the largest bases in the French Air Force, housing some sixty units and more than 3,500 people. During his career, he held leading international positions, notably in the office of the French Minister of Defense, in the "Africa and Middle East" cell, as well as in the Armed Forces Staff, in the International Relations Directorate. He participated in the development of the Air Force's capability strategy between 2013 and 2014, and in the drafting of numerous study or investigation reports on ministerial and joint issues within the French General Inspectorate of the Armed Forces. General Guillaume Letalenet is an Officer of the Legion of Honor and an Officer of the National Order of Merit.
Stéphanie
POCHON
Stéphanie Pochon has been a partner at Avisa Partners since the beginning of 2020. Before joining the group, she led advocacy campaigns in Brussels and other major European capitals for 15 years. A former partner at GPLUS for 10 years, for years she has managed a diverse portfolio of clients, with specialized knowledge of issues related to the digital sphere, technology and intellectual property. She has also represented numerous companies and professional organisations in Brussels in a number of sectors, including transport, environmental issues and trade. She is also one of the most renowned experts on copyright issues and digital sovereignty. Stéphanie is a graduate of the College of Europe in Bruges, after having studied at Sciences Po Strasbourg and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She gave courses in European lobbying at Sciences Po Paris (for the Master in European Affairs) for five years.
Olga
POPOVA
Olga Popova joined Avisa Partners as International Director in 2014, following a stint at the World Bank in Washington D.C. Holding dual British-Russian nationality and based in London and Paris, Olga advises numerous international corporate clients on their online advocacy and public relations strategies and manages Avisa’s business development in Europe. She holds a Master’s degree in European Affairs from the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) and an undergraduate degree in politics from the University of Nottingham (UK).
John
PROCTER
John Procter is a communications executive in Washington, D.C. specializing in international brand and crisis communications. He has 20 years of experience in advising clients on reputation management, litigation communications, transnational disputes, and other special circumstances. He has lived and worked in multiple countries, including in Iraq as a Department of Defense spokesperson. John holds an international relations degree from The George Washington University and an Executive Education Certificate in Corporate Diplomacy from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Vincent
RIOU
Following 11 years of experience in project management in the Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA), where he was in charge of cyberwarfare and intelligence programmes, Vincent Riou joined the Steria group, where he managed the Defence and Security department for 5 years. Vincent joined CEIS in 2012, where he oversaw the firm’s business development before taking over the company’s cybersecurity department in 2017. He has been a partner at Avisa Partners since the merger between CEIS and Avisa Partners in January 2020. He holds an engineering degree from the École Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancées Bretagne (ENSTA Bretagne) and a Master’s degree in business management from the Institut d'Administration des Entreprises (IAE). He also attended the 47th national session of the Institut supérieur d'études de défense nationale (IHEDN).
Jean
TILLINAC
Jean Tillinac has been a partner at Avisa Partners since 2017. After a master of advanced study in philosophy and a Master’s degree in market finance, Jean launched his career in economic intelligence at ESL & Network, now a subsidiary of ADIT, before taking up roles in French political cabinets. He notably served as a technical advisor to the Minister for Parliamentary Relations. He subsequently founded and directed a number of firms specialising in public affairs, lobbying, and digital communications, including Tendances Institut (2005-2010) et Antidox (2010-2017). He is associated with a number of think tanks and is the founder of the Institut des Transitions.
François-Charles
TIMMERMAN
François-Charles Timmerman has been a partner at Avisa Partners since 2018. He currently manages the firm’s business diplomacy and international relations sections. A graduate of the Special Military School of Saint-Cyr, François is a former intelligence officer. During his career in intelligence, he focused on conventional counter-proliferation and then concentrated on North and South America. He is now an expert in conflict, whether international, commercial or cyber, and in the fight against piracy and counterfeiting. He has extensive networks in Latin America, Africa and the Balkans, areas in which he has worked for over fifteen years.
Guillaume
TISSIER
Following studies in international relations, Guillaume Tissier started his career as a journalist specialising in economic and legal affairs, before becoming a consultant at DATOPS, a firm specialised in data mining solutions. He joined CEIS when it was created in 1997 to develop its economic intelligence and risk management business units. Since 2013, he also manages the International Cybersecurity Forum (FIC), co-organised by CEIS and the National Gendarmerie. CEO of CEIS since 2018, he became a partner at Avisa Partners when the two firms merged in January 2020.
Antoine
VIOLET-SURCOUF
Antoine Violet-Surcouf joined Avisa Partners as Managing Director and Partner after spending 11 years as the director of digital strategy of ADIT. He has a wealth of expertise in open source intelligence (OSINT) and in the fight against economic crime, including counterfeiting and fraud.

Associate Professor at the Ecole de Guerre Economique, he is the author of numerous books. Antoine is President of AEGE, the network of economic intelligence experts, and regularly participates in conferences on influence and digital public affairs.
Jérôme
YOMTOV
Jérôme Yomtov served as Managing Director of Numéricable-SFR from 2009 to 2016. He was previously the Operations Manager for markets and competition at ARCEP (France’s regulatory authority for electronic communications), technical advisor to the Ministry of the Economy, Finances, and Industry, and an investment banker with HSBC. In his role with Avisa Partners, he works primarily on issues of business competition, regulation, and local authorities. Jérôme is an engineer graduate from École Polytechnique and a graduate of the Paris School of Telecommunications (ParisTech).