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Duško Knežević, a Doctor of Legal and Economic Sciences at the University of Belgrade, is the founder and president of Atlas Group.

Atlas Group was founded 27 years ago in former Yugoslavia and today, it represents one of the most successful groups in South-Eastern Europe. Under the leadership of Dr Knežević, Atlas Group grew into an internationally acknowledged company, gathering 30 companies working in the fields of banking, finance, real estate, construction, tourism, education, health-care and the media. Apart from that, Dr Knežević has dedicated himself to developing strong business relationships and partnerships with financial institutions such as Abu Dhabi Capital Group owned by the royal family from UAE, Bursa Istanbul, Mace London, Piraeus Bank, EBRD, Century 21 Real Estate, Turner Real Estate USA.

During his career of three decades in banking and finance, Dr Knežević also managed very successful acquisitions in Serbia such as the acquisition of Atlas Bank by Pireus Bank, Centrobank by Marfin Bank and Kopaonik Insurance by the Slovenian Triglav Insurance company.

Due to his dedication to science and education and after realizing the need for the establishment of new higher education institutions in our region, Dr Knežević started to significantly invest in education. He is the founder and president of the Board of Directors of the Mediterranean University – the first private university in Montenegro, as well as the Belgrade Banking Academy, which was declared the best private faculty in Serbia.

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Through Atlas Foundation, which was founded in 2010, Dr Knežević has dedicated himself to the establishment of new social values and empowering international relations, as well as the improvement and active integration of the region into the global community. In 2010, Dr Knežević became a member of the Clinton Global Initiative and assumed an obligation to assist in the procurement of solutions to the problems which represent one of the biggest global challenges: poverty, environmental protection, healthcare and education. Afterwards, he started the Balkan Networking initiative by organizing the inaugural conference "Balkan initiative for social empowerment of South-Eastern Europe” in May 2011 together with the Clinton Global Initiative and the Montenegro Government. The main address at the Balkan Networking conference was given by Bill Clinton, the founder of William J. Clinton Foundation and the 42nd president of the USA, who stayed in Montenegro at the invitation of Dr Duško Knežević and on that occasion, he received the honorary doctorate degree of the Mediterranean University. Besides President Clinton, honorary doctorate degrees of the Mediterranean University were also awarded to Professor Filip Kotler, Dr Zeljko Bogetić, chief economist of the World Bank and Professor emeritus Dr Slobodan Unković.


In 2011, Dr Knežević became one of the first members of the Board of Directors of the newly founded Summit100 business leaders of South-Eastern Europe. Summit100 is the first and only gathering of its kind in the region, whose aim is to become a powerful cohesive force of future economic cooperation and contribute to political efforts already being made with the aim to improve the relations and lives in the region. In May 2013, through Atlas Foundation and under the auspices of the Montenegro Government, Dr Knežević hosted the second Summit100, whose esteemed participants included the Prime Ministers of Montenegro, Serbian and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dr Duško Knežević is also a strategic partner of initiatives such as Sarajevo Business Forum, which empower strategic communication and regional cooperation in business and politics, as well as jointly promote economic potentials of the region on the Middle-Eastern and Eastern markets.  

Dr Duško Knežević accomplished much success in his sporting career as well. At a young age, he showed great talent in basketball but his basketball career was cut short by injury. He moved from being a player to being a referee and even advanced to a federal-level basketball referee as a student. Even though he was mostly dedicated to basketball, Knežević took his first steps as a sports functionary in water polo. He became the president of the Water Polo club “Red Star” in 1992. At the same time, he was actively involved in the work of the Management Board of the Water Polo Association of Yugoslavia, he led the water polo national team of the FRY at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 as the director. At the start of 2000, he was very active in basketball: at the same time, he was the president of the basketball club “Atlas“, member of the Executive Board of the Basketball Union of Serbia and Montenegro and President of the Board of Directors of the Company EP 2005 (founded for the purpose of organizing the European Basketball Championship in Belgrade, Podgorica, Novi Sad and Vršac).

His contribution and support to empowering regional economic cooperation has been one of the most recognizable and internationally acknowledged constants of the business strategy of Dr Duško Knežević, reflected in the work of Atlas Group from its very establishment.

By promoting investments in the region, as well as through realization of projects of Atlas Capital Centre with Abu Dhabi Capital Group owned by the royal family Al Nahyan from the United Arab Emirates, Dr Dusko Knežević initiated the arrival of investors from the UAE to Montenegro, and then the region as well. Due to the cooperation with Atlas Group on projects in Montenegro, the first UAE embassy in the region was opened precisely in the Atlas Capital Centre in Podgorica.

Through many projects and international initiatives, Dr Duško Knežević constantly significantly contributes to Balkan transparency and the promotion of business potentials of the region, especially in Montenegro and Bosnia to investors from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Arab and Middle Eastern countries.

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Dr Duško Knežević received his Bachelor’s degree in finance and banking at the Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade. He completed his Master’s studies in finance and banking at the same faculty as well. He defended his PhD thesis “Legal and economic prerequisites of sustainability of the pension insurance system” at the Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade.

Dr Duško Knežević was born on May 30, 1959 in Podgorica, where he finished elementary school and high school. He is married, a father of four. 



Duško Knežević's article from the World Finance Magazine, Sep-Oct 2010

Download: Dusko Knezevic WorldFinance Article.pdf

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