Two bankers, Xavier Heude and Michel Vandevoir, who had met at a major Luxembourg bank, decided that they wanted to add their ethical convictions to their professional duties. In other words, they wanted to replace the traditional banker’s mantra of risk and return with the triad of risk, return and impact. Driven by the desire to contribute to the protection of human dignity and human fulfillment, they decided to realize their mission by financing SMEs in developing and emerging countries to improve local living conditions.
And so, in 2016, they founded BACKBONE. To their logo, they added a graphic symbol describing the four colors of the human environment to be protected: ochre for earth, yellow for sun, green for nature and red for fruit.
BACKBONE is looking for the integral development of human being that goes beyond (or rather that should be the pillar of ?) the ESG approach and the SDGs.
In the current situation where all values tend to be questioned, BACKBONE is getting back to the roots and attempting to shed light over what is essential for every person.
This is just the beginning of a long journey that BACKBONE is pursuing day by day.
Backbone offices are located
in the heart of Luxembourg-city,
just in front of the Grand-Duchy palace (here above).
Xavier started his career as a Corporate Relationship Manager with Crédit Lyonnais (LCL), France, where he was in charge of developing a portfolio of SME clients. During this time, he has developed considerable expertise in deal origination, credit assessment and credit case presentation across a variety of business sectors. Xavier then spent 13 years working as a Project Manager, conducting operational efficiency programmes within industrial groups and specialized financial institutions. In particular, he has been involved in the set up and monitoring of development-aid projects in the education and microfinance sectors (using Logframe). Since 2012, Xavier has been teaching Sustainable Finance within several Finance Masters programmes.
With a background in economics, Michel has over 20 years of experience in Banking and in the Fund industry where he held various management functions in client relationships and custody operations. While working in the sector for Quintet Luxembourg (formerly KBL European Private Bankers), Michel volunteered to develop a microfinance project in Vietnam. This has broadened his perspective on the potential of Finance at a micro-SME level in an emerging market context. This experience truly sparked his interest in applying his finance & risk management skills in the context of an Emerging Markets Private Debt Fund. Since 2016, Michel has been instrumental in raising the initial +USD10m seed funds from credit investors, mainly from High Net Worth Individuals and Family Offices.
Francis has over 30 years of experience in business management and corporate finance, having acquired extensive knowledge in financial analysis, performance and risk monitoring within mid-sized firms. He started his career in financial controlling and was CFO at various corporate private companies including MATIF S.A, France’s first futures’ market platform. He has been active in the bank-insurance sector. In particular, he headed the Funding team of Atradius France's factoring and bonding division, and later headed Fortis Commercial Finance’s subsidiary in Luxembourg. Keeping strong ties on the African continent, Francis has recently worked for FTHM Consulting in Madagascar, as Manager in charge of M&A & Finance for targets based in the country and on the wider African continent.
After graduating from a Master's degree in Strategic Finance from the University of Buckingham, Carlo seeked to leverage his education and experience as a Risk Officer at Backbone. So he decided to join the Luxemburg offices of the company in the purpose of contributing to the organization's development and commitment to sustainable practices. His passion for creating positive impact leaded him to acquire useful knowledge thanks to his colleagues’ experience and his own objective to optimize his performance in the risk monitoring department in the context of an Emerging Markets private debt fund.
He has over 15 years of experience in Banking and Finance with a proven track-record in Emerging Markets financing, structured lending, and complex rates products through Investment Banking, with a focus on social impact. Thierry has worked with investment banks, African governments, multilateral organizations, and private actors on national and international level. His skills include deals origination, Forex and commodities and credit Trading, investment analysis (debt and equity), financial and business advisory, negotiation of financing, as well as training and development of teams in Europe and Africa multi-cultural environment.
With an enriching experience both in France and Mexico, Marcelo has held different key positions in Real Estate & Construction, Banking and Digital. He has a proven track-record in Market Research, Project & Operations Planning, Cross-Functional Management as well as Web Digital Marketing Strategy. Marcelo mentors university students where he designs and follows-up Sustainability projects regarding the UN Sustainable Development Goals both on Social & Environmental Impact. As an advisor for Mexico, Marcelo wishes to become a big contributor in ESG investments thought extra-financial research and analytics, reporting content and design, fund growth strategy and also as a team player!
Independent business advisor
Annemarie is financial services professional with a broad spectrum of international experience. She is a non-executive director, chairman and consultant to financial services funds and companies. Since 2016, Annemarie has acted as director of Luxembourg management companies and UCITS companies. Annemarie took high responsibilities in recognized institutions, like the position of General Manager at LuxFLAG or the position of European Head of Sales and Relationship as well as European Head of Client Service Management at RBC Investor Services Bank. She was also a member of RBC Investor Services Bank Executive Committee in Luxembourg. Annemarie started her professional career in the Financial Industry in 1985.
CEO of a patrimonial advising company & Founder of an ethical consulting company
After completing several political and economic work experiences in Brussels and Washington D.C., Archduke Imre spent three years working in auditing and consulting with Ernst & Young in Luxembourg. He is now a partner at MultiPlus finance in Geneva, Switzerland - a consulting company specializing in patrimonial advice to families, religious congregations, foundations and dioceses. In 2019, he founded with his father Aliter Invest, a company specializing in identifying and analyzing ethical investment funds. He is also the vice-president of the « Accueil Louis et Zélie », an organization present in several countries in Europe, helping people with social and family difficulties.
Former Minister of Trade in Tunisia
Mohsen holds a Master of Business Administration from the University Panthéon-Sorbonne, France. His professional career began in the National Agricultural Bank (BNA) from 1996 until 2001. Then he held executive and non-executive positions in various companies in the food distribution, real-estate brokerage and consulting services. He also has taught in Tunisian universities and has worked as an expert and consultant to several international organizations. He was Ministry of Trade in 2016-2017. Early 2019, he co-founded and became the chairman of the civil society organisation “Association for the Promotion of Investment and Development of Grand-Souassi (APIDGS)”, in the North-East of Tunisia.
Cyril helps Backbone in fund raising and in governance strategy. As an entrepreneur, Cyril participates in four business angel platforms, involved in transaction management from target selection to investment closing, and siting in one investment SPV board. Focused on purpose-driven companies and impact funds, he is also a member of the purpose board for a company committed in agroecology transition. A former banker, with several experiences in Asia, in Western and in Eastern Europe, Cyril developed debt portfolios, transition finance solutions and midcap investment banking, with clients like utility corporates, clean mobility shifters, supply chain players, asset managers and family offices. He graduated from Essec business school and Saint-Cyr academy.
CFO of an international NGO
Treasurer of an international NGO He is active as an independent director for funds or professionals of the financial sector. He also delivers advisory with financial matters for these professionals in Luxembourg. After he passed his MBA at NEOMA Business School (France), he started his career in Paris and Montreal where he worked for 6 years. He joined Deloitte Luxembourg in 1988 and become a Senior Partner as head of the audit department till 2012. He also is a member of several professional association in Luxembourg, such as the ILA (Institut Luxembourgeois des Administrateurs). Eric is Treasurer of Humanity & Inclusion (formerly Handicap International) an independent charity working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster.
Former Managing Partner of a “Big-Four” audit & advisory company
He is a Partner of The Directors’ Office, the leading practice of independent Directors in Luxembourg since November 2011. John trained and qualified as a Chartered accountant in the UK. He moved to Luxembourg in 1987. During the last 30 years John Li worked essentially in the Financial sector auditing and advising clients such as Banks, Investment Funds, Insurance companies, etc. Clients also were from Europe, US, Japan and Asia offering John an extensive experience in dealing with international companies. John was a Partner at KPMG Luxembourg for more than 20 years during which he was Managing Partner for 8 years (2000-2008) before taking on the role Of Chairman of the Supervisory Board for 3 years (2008-2011). He was also a member of the Leadership team of the Global Investment Management Practice in KPMG.
Expert in Peer-to-Peer Lending
He started his carreer as a proprietary trader in Singapore for Crédit Industriel et Commercial (CIC) and as a partner of the LINK Group in London, where he was Head of the equity structured products department. Aymeric co-founded in 2010 an international art wealth management group, LINK Management, with a head office in Luxembourg. He is also the co-founder with the swiss bank Reyl & Cie of Griffin Art Partners, a securitisation platform providing high-end non-recourse loans collateralised entirely by works of fine art. He holds a Master in Finance from ESCP-EA. Aymeric is President of Calao Africa, a Luxembourg-based NGO with a mission to protect bio-diversity and the environment in Africa.
Former Bank’s Senior Executive
He comes from the banking world, but also from the shipping industry. Jean-Pierre has throughout his career, in France, Luxembourg and London, run several activities in the shipping, aircraft and films sectors and in the Funds and Private Banking development (Banque Worms, Locabail Intl. Finance, Banque Internationale à Luxembourg, Ferline Martime Ltd, Banque Degroof). He was also a ship-broker for marine merchant ships and participated to the setting-up of a reinsurance company in Luxembourg. From 2006 to date, Jean-Pierre is administrator of Luxembourg based companies in the shipping industry and for some Luxembourg funds.