Consultant Profiles

Mark Armitage

Mark holds a degree in Russian Studies from Leeds University, an MBA from Bradford University School of Management and is currently working towards a professional Doctorate in Management (DBA) at the Bradford University School of Management. His research interests are focused on UK business operations in Central and Eastern Europe.

Before setting up his own management consultancy business, Mark had 12 years international management experience working in over 65 countries for a large UK Plc and hi-tech US Corporate. He operated extensively in Central and Eastern Europe, the Former Soviet Union, Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Western Europe. He has worked at ministerial level within the public sector and at senior management levels within the commercial and retail banking sectors. His last line management position within De La Rue Plc was as Regional Managing Director Cash Systems Division with responsibility for Africa, Middle East and South Asia where he had full P and L responsibility for three operating companies based in South Africa, India and UK. His corporate experience also includes business planning and implementation as Commercial Director of a start-up company supplying business-to-business information communication technology solutions to both the public (health) and private (retail) sectors. He has worked as a Managing Consultant in the Public Sector within a medium-sized Management Consultancy firm, and was part of the senior management team responsible for business development within Europe, Middle East and Africa for a high-technology start-up business within the NCR Corporation.


Carl Ottar Rafner

Carl holds the degree Master of Management from Norwegian Business School specialised in strategic issues: management, marketing, branding and scenarios.  He is currently about to finalise a professional Doctorate in Management (DBA) at the Bradford University School of Management. His research is within strategic management in Sub Saharan Africa.

He started up his career by a larger newspaper factory, Follum Fabrikker/Norwegian Wood Industries in 1965 and ventured to Nigeria in 1970 for 8 years selling paper and boards. After some 6 years within the paper industry as sales manager in Norway, he took in 1984 up position as adviser within the Norwegian Trade Council, then a unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The work involved close contact with the Norwegian industries promoting and facilitating their market access. He worked as commercial counsellor accredited to Norwegian embassies abroad in Iran, Peoples Republic of China, Netherlands, The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

As from 2001 Carl worked as marketing director for Cement Company of Northern Nigeria, a company within Heidelberg Cement. In 2007, after a brief stay in China, he assumed the position as vice president marketing for Africa within Heidelberg Cement. Late 2012 he established his own company and worked one year for another cement company in Tanzania, thereafter he did full time research work.


Zoë Talks

As Research Consultant, Zoë applies her skills and experience to running international projects to help clients develop their new markets. Zoë undertakes research, especially focusing on competitor profiles and analysis, as well as looking at market activity and trends. She has particular experience in the biomedical sector, Central and Eastern Europe and North America. Her flexible approach, combined with her attention to detail, has created a reputation for right first time delivery that supports clients’ decision making on where to target international activity.


Ladislav Hersic

Ladislav has an MSc in Financial and Monetary Systems at Economic University in Bratislava, Slovakia and holds a PhD from Leeds University Business School. His research focused on Effects of Foreign Entry in Banking Sectors of Transitional Economies including: latest developments in international trade patterns, foreign investments and their impact and banking and financial systems development.

Ladislav has been directly involved in international trade for the past 18 years and for the last 13 years has been involved in all aspects of the trading of large volumes of commodities around the globe.

Before setting up his own international trade, research and management consultancy company in 2004, he was involved in consumer-market research projects as a Freelance Country Analyst for Euromonitor Plc. Other assignments include acting as the evaluator of projects funded by The Northern Leadership Academy in 2007 and 2008 and targeted market research analysis for International Strategy Solutions Ltd (UKTI) in 2009 and 2010. His professional experience also includes project management of transformer repair at Scout Moor Wind Farm (the largest onshore wind farm in England operated by Peel Energy) which involved the liaison, organization and management of an international workforce across several European countries.

Ladislav is native Slovak speaker and proficient in Czech and English.


Mark Shaw

Mark is a retail professional with over 20 years experience working for major multi-site UK retailers in area management, project management and retail equipment design, development and implementation. He has a track record of successful delivery of major multi-site retail roll outs in the UK and overseas, as well as value engineering, global sourcing and business development.

Mark has an MBA from Bradford University School of Management with specialisms in strategic and project management. He is passionate about planning, process efficiency and low cost delivery. His reputation has been built on an emphasis on customer service, integrity and successful change management.


Sarah Lewis

Sarah is a CIM Chartered Marketer with almost 20 years experience in both UK & International Marketing Planning.

During her lengthy career as International Marketing Manager with OCS Group UK Ltd, Sarah managed the company’s marketing activities in over 30 countries worldwide, developing market opportunities through a range of market entry strategies.  She has also undertaken many market research projects with a strong focus on delivering high quality, relevant and timely information to aid business planning.

In addition to market research projects for International Strategy Solutions, Sarah now uses this expertise to deliver marketing plans for UK companies wishing to expand into overseas markets and also for foreign businesses wishing to enter the UK market.


Arturas Jurgelevicius

Arturas has a Master’s in Economics from Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius and is working towards a PhD in Economics. His PhD thesis is focused on an analysis of intangible resources across EU countries. He also lectures on international business, marketing and business economics related subjects.

With regard to Arturas’ commercial and research experience; he specialises in competitive and market intelligence, market entry strategies, risk mitigation strategies and economic and political assessments of the target countries. He utilises and applies a wide range of methods and multiple sources in his research so that the client always gets as big a picture as possible of the business environment which in turn enables the development and implementation of more robust business strategies.

He has established and continues to develop a research and commercial network across the Baltic States, Russia and Ukraine.

Arturas is fluent in Lithuanian, English and Russian.