Dr Leszek Czarnecki was born in Poland in 1962. He graduated from Wroclaw University of Technology, obtaining a master's degree in engineering at the Faculty of Sanitary Engineering. He then defended his doctorate in economics at Wroclaw University of Economics. He's also a graduate of Harvard Business School (AMP).
Leszek Czarnecki started his business activities in 1986, creating Przedsiebiorstwo Hydrotechniki i Inzynierii TAN S.A., specialising in high-altitude and underwater works. He was also a co-founder and owner of the European Leasing Fund, which was one of the first and most-dynamic leasing firms in Poland. In 2000, the company debuted on the London Stock Exchange. In 2001, Czarnecki sold ELF to the French bank Credit Agricole.
In 2003, he founded Getin Holding. At the time of its creation, it was the largest Polish financial group based solely on private equity. It included banks, leasing and insurance entities, and financial intermediation companies. The company was one of the fastest-growing entities in the Polish finance industry, and quickly rose to the forefront in its market categories. In 2010, Getin Noble Bank was created from the merger of Getin Bank S.A. and Noble Bank S.A., as a result of which it became one of the largest Polish commercial banks with a majority of Polish capital. Getin Holding also started actively participating in the banking and leasing market in Russia, Romania, Belarus and Ukraine.
Leszek Czarnecki is the creator and initiator of many business initiatives that have achieved success on the Polish market. These include TU Europa, which is the second-largest insurance group. Projects that Leszek Czarnecki initiated and had in his investment portfolio for a long time also include LC Corp (currently Develia) – a major developer – and Sky Tower – the tallest complex in Poland with apartments, offices and commercial premises. This project has become a permanent symbol of Wroclaw. Leszek Czarnecki is also the initiator of twenty or so different start-ups.
Leszek Czarnecki has been involved in charity and philanthropy for many years. In 2007, he founded Fundacja LC Heart (LC Heart Foundation), which he currently runs with his wife under the name Fundacja Jolanty i Leszka Czarneckich (Jolanta and Leszek Czarnecki Foundation). It mainly deals with helping children who due to diseases and injuries have trouble gaining independence. The founder has already donated over PLN 57 million to the Foundation. Leszek Czarnecki is also the Council Chair of St. Antony’s College Oxford Noble Foundation. Its objective is to engage intellectual and business communities in supporting the development of the Contemporary Poland Studies Programme at Oxford University.
Leszek Czarnecki has received many prestigious awards – both Polish and international. In 1998, he became one of the top 10 managers in Central Europe – “The best CEO in Central Europe” according to The Wall Street Journal. Financial Times 2004 analysts included then 42-year-old Czarnecki in the group of 25 Rising European Business Stars that in the near future will set the directions of the development of financial markets. He’s the only Pole who made it to the prestigious FT list. In 2005-2007, he was elected “Player of the Year” in rankings organised by the Polish edition of the Forbes magazine. In 2013, he received the prestigious Special Award of the Warsaw Stock Exchange for passion and consistency in creating new economic projects and a visionary approach to running a business on the public market. In 2014, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of political changes, Leszek Czarnecki was recognised by the Editorial Office of Parkiet Gazeta Gieldy as the Man of the Capital Market.
Leszek Czarnecki was one of the youngest diving instructors in Poland. He got his qualifications at the age of 22, in the early 1980s. In addition to his sporting qualifications, he also holds the qualifications of a professional diver and underwater works manager. This is his greatest passion and is what earnt him his first substantial money. While still studying at Wrocław University of Technology in 1986, he founded Przedsiebiorstwo Hydrotechniki i Inzynierii TAN S.A., which dealt with underwater engineering works. He employed many of his friends who shared his passion for diving. Even as the CEO, he often performed underwater works himself. He sold the company, even though it brought considerable profits, and invested the money he earned into leasing.
On 9 October 2009, after 9 hours and 58 minutes of diving, Leszek Czarnecki set a world record. He conquered over 17 km of Dos Ojos corridors that form a complex of caves located in southern Mexico on the Yucatán Peninsula.
A group of support divers accompanied him on his world-record breaking dive: Krzysztof Starnawski, Remigiusz Balinski, Boguslaw Ogrodnik, Miroslaw Wolski and Patrick Widmann.