DAI and the European Union

The European Union (EU) is the world’s largest development donor. DAI, with its long-term presence on the European continent, is a key partner in the implementation of the EU global strategy for international development and cooperation.

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Our Team

Multicultural, multilingual, and multidisciplinary to the core—global in outlook and approach—DAI’s staff are steeped in the challenges of delivering development solutions in the field. They are committed to sharing our innovation and experience to inform international development practices worldwide.

Jakob Zeidler

Vice President, EU Business Unit

Jakob Zeidler

Jakob Zeidler joined the distinguished European consultancy Human Dynamics in 2006 and progressively assumed more responsible roles within the company and its Implementation Department, which he led from 2015 through DAI’s acquisition of Human Dynamics in 2019. He was appointed to lead DAI’s combined EU Business Unit in 2020. As Vice President of DAI’s EU Business unit, Jakob leads the business unit’s integration, growth, and diversification. Based in Vienna, Jakob oversees roughly 100 staff.


Mónica Peiró Vallejo

Director of Strategy and Innovation

Mónica Peiró Vallejo

Mónica Peiró Vallejo is the Director of Strategy and Innovation in our EU Business Unit. Based in DAI Brussels’ office, she provides strategic leadership for our European Union work and leads our communication agenda, innovative solutions, and knowledge to better serve customers. She also coordinates the work with in-house technical teams in our other global offices. Mónica is a senior development aid specialist, with more than 23 years of experience in international cooperation and external relations. She spent most of her professional career in the field and has in-depth knowledge and experience of EU-funded programmes and policies.


Hipolit Gabalda

Director of Business Development

Hipolit Gabalda

Hipolit Gabalda has more than 30 years of professional experience providing support to the public and private sector. He has extensive and in-depth understanding of public sector challenges in developing countries based on work in more than 50 countries. Hipolit joined DAI with the acquisition of Human Dynamics, where he was Head of the Tenders Unit between 2011 and 2014 and then Practice Leader for Green Growth, Economic Development, Social Development, and Public Administration Reform. He successfully positioned Human Dynamics into strategic markets including Nigeria, Turkey, and Pakistan, and new technical areas such as transport and using satellite data for monitoring the environment and security, or for evidence-based policy making.


Anne-Sofia Holmberg

Director of Project Delivery

Anne-Sofia Holmberg

As the Director of the Project Implementation unit, Anne-Sofia Holmberg is responsible for the implementation of our portfolio of European Union and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development projects. Anne-Sofia joined the company in 2007, working initially in business development and programme management in the West Africa team and then as a Manager in the European Commission Framework Contracts Unit, where she managed short-term technical assistance contracts across five thematic lots.


Inez Couzinet

Director of Operations

Inez Couzinet

Inez Couzinet has more than 20 years of experience in international development consulting and has specialist skills in the acquisition of new business funded by bilateral and multilateral donor agencies. In her role as Director of Operations she focuses on maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of the EU Business Development Unit. She also provides strategic leadership, management and technical oversight across DAI’s pipeline of EU-funded proposals in the field of Sustainable Growth - from early pre-positioning, strategic partnering and commercial risk management to ensuring technical rigour. Inez has a solid experience managing remote teams implementing complex donor-funded projects in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.


Sarah Conlon

Director of EC Framework Contracts

Sarah Conlon

Sarah Conlon is the Director of DAI’s European Commission Framework Contracts Unit. She manages a team of consultants who bid for and manage short-term technical assistance contracts across six thematic lots. Sarah has worked in the international donor development field since 2008, and has managed projects in Africa, Asia, and Europe for the EC, DFID, EBRD, and other clients. Sarah’s background is in accountancy, having trained early on in her career with EY, and she joined DAI’s finance team in 2015, where she managed the Project Finance team for four years.


Eric Heldring

Director of Compliance

Eric Heldring

Eric Heldring joined DAI with the acquisition of Human Dynamics, where he served for more than 10 years. He has been involved in managing EU technical assistance for more than 20 years. As leader of the Rule of Law practice, Eric manages a team dealing with business development in human rights, democracy, justice, public administration reform, civil society, decentralisation, and conflict prevention. Eric is also Head of Compliance, Legal, and Contractual issues, ensuring that all internal and external procedures are followed.


Mathilde Gaston-Mathe

Director of Communications and Outreach

Mathilde Gaston-Mathe

Mathilde Gaston-Mathé is the Director of Communications and Outreach for DAI’s EU Business Unit. Mathilde joined DAI in 2011 as a communications expert on the EU-funded ACP Microfinance programme. Since then, she has been combining corporate communication responsibilities with project assignments. Prior to joining DAI, Mathilde spent most of her career working as a communications specialist in nonprofit organizations active in financial inclusion and women’s economic empowerment.


Holger Hinterthuer

Director, Operational Excellence

Holger Hinterthuer

Holger Hinterthuer has 20 years of experience in the acquisition and delivery of EU-funded technical assistance projects. At DAI, he is responsible for ensuring operational excellence in the delivery of EU projects. He manages several of DAI’s larger, complex projects (such as those in Nigeria and Pakistan) and oversees a portfolio of EU projects managed by other project directors. Holger joined Human Dynamics (now DAI) in 2014, for which he worked in senior management positions both in business development and project delivery. His technical focus is private sector development, agriculture, and rural, local, and infrastructure development.

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