skip to navigation skip to content

Michael Gerlich

Michael Gerlich, 2016 Executive MBA participant
I believe that only continuous education from top educational institutions can keep you on top of your game.
Michael Gerlich

Early life and career

I grew up and went to school in Bavaria, Germany, and passed my vocational education as a banker. After my military training in the German Airforce, I studied Business Economics at Trier University of Applied Sciences and graduated with a Master's degree. 

During my time at university, I was already working for an auditing company in a managerial position, building its Luxembourg office from scratch. Upon graduation, I joined one of Germany´s leading banks as a corporate portfolio manager and became a part-time lecturer at the German Banking Academy and Trier University of Applied Sciences. In 1999, I joined the German Government Agency for Technical Cooperation (GIZ) as a government advisor on Economic Development, advising Ministers and Heads of State from Central Asia and South Caucasus as to how their private-sector development could be improved. My duties with GIZ and later with the International Finance Corporation and World Bank Group also included the integration and development of all stakeholders when transitioning to a market-oriented economy.

Working in Azerbaijan

Besides an excellent background in economic development, my wider experience in business development was just one half of my success formula. The other half was my negotiation and coaching skills, combined with a very honest approach to problem solving. This made me the youngest advisor to a Head of State ever sent by the German Government. In 2000, I received the Order of Excellence from the President of the Kyrgyz Republic. Later in my career, I returned to management within the private sector and became CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of Synergy Group in Azerbaijan.   

Since 2015, I have led GILAN FMCG Group as CEO and am a Member of the Executive Board of GILAN Holding, for which I am responsible for 23 factories and sales and distribution companies in Azerbaijan and abroad. Throughout my professional career, I have worked in fast-changing transition economies across different cultures where standard rules and solutions do not apply. Such an environment demands far more of managers and leaders than the usual skill-sets that we are used to in highly developed and settled economies. In my role, I not only ensure that the usual business development, cost optimisation, product development factors match international standards, but I also participate in the change management process to develop new corporate cultures, coach and develop young professionals and lead by example to gain trust for change. 


Cambridge Executive MBA 2016

Current position

CEO GILAN FMCG Group & Member of the Executive Board GILAN Holding


MA Business Economics, Trier University of Applied Sciences