Our Team

KEN CLOSE - CEO

Ken Close is the CEO of The Quincy Group and a specialist in U.S.-Saudi business and foreign relations. Ken brings over three decades of investment banking, private equity, international business development and government relations experience in the MENA region to the firm.

Mr. Close comes from a long line of educators, missionaries, diplomats, soldiers, and businessmen who have served in the Arab Middle East since the mid-nineteenth century. He is the fourth generation of his family born in Lebanon and the fifth generation to have lived, studied, and worked in the Middle East. He enjoys broad and deep relationships there in part as a result of his family’s unique history in the region.

Ken graduated magna cum laude from Duke University with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Public Policy.

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ELIAS CROMWELL- Partner and Executive Vice-President

Elias Cromwell served as an officer with the Brazilian Navy for 34 years. As the Deputy Naval Attaché to the Brazilian ambassadors to the United States and Canada and through his prior positions as International Relations Special Advisor to the Brazilian Navy Command and Advisor at the Brazilian Ministry of Defense, he has had extensive interaction with foreign government officials and international organizations. Mr. Cromwell has conducted significant research and analysis to set strategic policy priorities for the government of Brazil. Mr. Cromwell also served as Chairman of the Board of Admissions of the Inter-American Defense College (IADC) in Washington, DC, interacting with senior government officials across the western hemisphere. In his professional capacities, he has visited over 50 countries and represented Brazil, as a sponsored country, at NATO conferences. He served in three global deployments, and a Battle Group Deployment as a foreign exchange officer with the United States Navy.

For his professional service, Mr. Cromwell has been awarded the Order of Naval Merit by the Commandant of the Brazilian Navy and the US Meritorious Service Medal by the President of the United States. Mr. Cromwell graduated from the Brazilian Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree. He also earned a Master of Science and an MBA in International Management from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro – COPPEAD, and he is fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

WILLEM VAN ROSSEM - Senior Advisor and President of GCC

Willem van Rossem is the President of the Quincy Group in Saudi Arabia, having joined the firm in 2014 after a 23-year career in the diplomatic service of the Netherlands. Prior to joining Quincy, Mr. van Rossem was the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) for the Netherlands Embassy in Riyadh, the Head of Trade and Economy in Turkey, and the DCM in Sarajevo. Mr. van Rossem also served as the Private Secretary to HM Queen Beatrix and HRH Prince Claus of the Netherlands and as the Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels. Mr. van Rossem’s expertise in Saudi Arabia include private sector growth and engagement, joint venture partnerships between European and Saudi businesses, and government relations between the Kingdom and European partners.

Mr. van Rossem holds a Master’s degree from Utrecht University (History and International Relations) and a Diploma in Islamic Studies (University of Sarajevo). He resides in Riyadh.

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ELIZABETH CLOSE - Managing Director

Elizabeth Close is a Managing Director of The Quincy Group. She has spent 25 years in business development and institutional sales. She began her career in international business on the Japan desk at Merrill Lynch, advising pension funds, banks, and insurance companies on investments in U.S. capital markets. She later went on to start an Asia Pacific desk for L.F. Rothschild.

Ms. Close then managed business development for AmeriCares, an international humanitarian organization. While at AmeriCares, she also directed programs in Bosnia, Haiti, Rwanda, and former Soviet states. Ms. Close was also a segment producer for a business show about technology at CNN. Most recently, Ms. Close was in business development at Ambassador Media. She holds a dual BA in International Relations and Political Science from Brown University.

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CORY STEPHENS - Managing Director

Mr. Stephens is a Managing Director for the Quincy Group. Prior to joining Quincy, Mr. Stephens worked as a business data analyst for the USPS Inspector General Chief Data Officer and as a Teach for America Alumni (Bay Area Corps 2009); he taught for 5 years in public and private schools.

He holds a BA in Middle East Studies/Arabic from Brigham Young University and completed coursework for his MA in Middle East Studies from George Washington University with professional specialization in international security politics, cybersecurity, and cyber threat intelligence. Mr. Stephens speaks Arabic and Spanish and has lived and studied in Uruguay, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia.

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AMBASSADOR FRANCES COOK (Ret.) - Senior Advisor

Ambassador Cook has been a Senior Advisor of The Quincy Group since 2010 and is the founder of The Ballard Group LLC, an international business consulting firm. She served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman, to Burundi, and to Cameroon over a 32-year diplomacy career. Ambassador Cook was the Chairman of the Board of Lonrho PLC - a London listed conglomerate with two dozen companies across Africa - and served on the BOD of both the Corporate Council on Africa and the Angola-US Business Council. She also served a full term on the ATK Alliant Corporate Board. Cook is now a member of the corporate board of THEIA Satellite Group. She also is the International Strategic Advisor for Tactical Air Support – a military aviation company engaged in advanced tactical air training - and is a Senior Advisor to GardaWorld Federal Services, the largest privately-owned security company in the world, with a principal focus on the Middle East/South Asia, and Africa.

Cook is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Center for Naval Analyses, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was educated at the University of Virginia, in France, and at Harvard University. She speaks French, Arabic, and Swahili.

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YDIR VISSERS - Senior Advisor

Ydir Vissers is a Senior Advisor with The Quincy Group after fifteen years with the Monitor Group. At Monitor, he focused on a wide range of issues including national competitiveness, and improvement to the regulatory conditions in which private sector companies operate across multiple geographies.

Ydir was also an officer with the Dutch Military Intelligence focused on political and military risk analysis. He has a postgraduate degree in International Relations from Clingendael Instituut and an MA in both Industrial Engineering and Physics from the Eindhoven University of Technology.

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LES JANKA - Senior Advisor

Les Janka is a Senior Advisor to The Quincy Group after five years as president of The Quincy Group in Riyadh. He has had a long and distinguished career in public service and in the private sector. He joined Quincy after serving from 2007-2010 as President of Raytheon Arabian Systems Company and Vice President, Network Centric Systems Operations, based in Riyadh.

In the government sector, Mr. Janka has served in the White House under three Presidents. He was a Special Assistant to Dr. Henry Kissinger and also served as a Senior Staff Member on the National Security Council under Presidents Ford and Nixon. He later returned to the White House as Special Assistant to President Reagan and Deputy Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs.

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