At the Institute of International Education's 2012 Gala, IIE will honor Western Union and its CEO Hikmet Ersek with IIE’s Opening Minds Corporate Leadership Award for the company’s exemplary leadership and outstanding commitment to education and corporate social responsibility worldwide. In particular, we will celebrate the success of the Western Union Family Scholarship Program, administered by IIE.
As president and Chief Executive Officer of Western Union, Hikmet Ersek is responsible for the financial and overall operational performance of the company, which reported $5.5 billion in revenue in 2011. As leader of Western Union, a Fortune 500, NYSE-listed company, Ersek has executive management oversight of a network of 500,000 Agent locations in 200 countries and territories. In addition, he oversees an employee base of more than 8,400 people in 57 countries.
Prior to his role as CEO, Ersek served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer, with responsibility for all of Western Union’s business units around the world and the company’s operations and marketing functions. He joined Western Union in September 1999, and has held roles of increasing responsibility with the company – starting as Regional Vice President for Southeastern Europe. In 2004, he was appointed to the position of Senior Vice President, Europe, Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Ersek became Executive Vice President in 2006 and assumed overall responsibility for the EMEA-APAC region in 2009.
Ersek began his career in financial services in 1986 at Europay/MasterCard in Austria. At Europay/Mastercard, he held a variety of progressively responsible roles in sales, marketing and banking relationships. In 1996, Ersek joined General Electric (GE) Capital, where he was responsible for retailer sales, finance and the card business. Ersek also represented GE Corporation as National Executive in Austria and Slovenia.
Ersek has a degree in Economics and Business Administration from the Wirtschaftsuniversität (University of Economics) in Vienna, Austria. He is fluent in English, German and Turkish.
IIE is pleased to administer the Western Union Family Scholarship Program, which is intended to help two members of a family move up the economic development ladder through education. Scholarships are used for college tuition, language acquisition, technical training and GED classes, with two family members receiving a scholarship to help achieve the type of education they need in order to create a brighter future for their entire family.