Cornel Baloleanu, Project Manager in Bucharest, Romania
Cornel is available for hire
Hire Cornel

Cornel Baloleanu

Verified Expert  in Project Management

Project Manager

Bucharest, Romania
Toptal Member Since
June 21, 2019

Cornel is a delivery-focused vice president of engineering with a solid management track record. He has extensive experience building, leading, and coaching distributed engineering teams and a proven ability to manage complex projects and programs through completion. Cornel is comfortable with ambiguity and enjoys working collaboratively to solve complex problems.

Project Highlights

Telekom Banking
Created a new business unit in Telekom Romania and launched the first telco-banking partnership on the Romanian market.
Led a team of program and project managers delivering projects with teams of 100+ people and budgets of $10+ million per year.
PayU Romania
Drove a radical shift in the business model, migrating the company from a credit card to a payment solution company.


Work Experience

VP of Engineering

2019 - PRESENT
  • Managed a team of around 30 people and a development budget of about $3 million per year focused on migrating monolith Java projects, with 10+ million lines of code and 1+ million page views per day, to AWS with $5+ million hosting costs per year.
  • Improved system architecture and reduced cloud costs by almost 50%.
  • Handled 300+ system incidents per year, overseeing root cause analysis, setting up monitors, and reducing the number of incidents by more than 50% YoY.
  • Improved processes to maximize efficiency and empower engineers to solve problems. Supervised the yearly delivery of 1,500+ development units and 600+ different product releases.
  • Involved in the team's decisions in terms of architecture, infrastructure, and operations and applied the best and latest global technologies. Continuously deep dove to understand the platform's capabilities and underlying technologies.
  • Improved the quality and velocity of the release process, going from monthly releases to multiple daily releases on demand. Improved the velocity of production releases by 55% and delivery of maintenance units by 60%.

Director and Head of Program Management

2016 - 2019
  • Created and led a remote team of 6-8 engineering managers and program managers.
  • Defined KPIs and operational processes for a department with over 100 engineers and a yearly budget of around $10 million.
  • Delivered 100+ projects per year, significantly improving a low-latency, high-throughput product that hundreds of millions of subscribers used.
  • Managed Optiva's transformation from an on-premise, single-tenant, heavily customized multiple versions to a cloud, multi-tenant, single-version product.
  • Improved the release cycle from yearly to weekly while maintaining the product's quality.
  • Reported to senior management every week, first with manual and then automated reports.

Fintech Manager and Business Unit Head

2014 - 2016
Telekom Romania
  • Led a payments business unit, started several initiatives, and created business cases to support each of them.
  • Held several monthly presentations to management and the board of directors to outline new proposals and report on current initiatives updates.
  • Created detailed project plans and supervised the implementation process for each new project.
  • Managed several initiatives across two years, with a development cost of several million euros and estimated revenue of 50+ million euros over several years.
  • Created the Telekom Banking vertical and founded a new bank in Romania by passporting the license of a Polish bank and integrated banking processes with existing telecommunications procedures.

Implementation, Product and Marketing Manager

2012 - 2014
PayU Romania
  • Expanded the product range from less than five to over 10 new products.
  • Managed a team of two experts involved in project management and implementation. Worked on all initiatives from initiation and business case creation through project development and implementation.
  • Expanded the customer base, moving from one customer providing over 50% of the revenues to several big customers, neither being over 20%.
  • Managed the implementation of the first major redesign of the payment user experience, combining several products into a much simpler UX.

Founder and CTO

2004 - 2012
Web Studio Company
  • Ran an IT outsourcing company that made it into the top 100 companies worldwide in a marketplace of 300,000 competitors.
  • Created and led remote teams of 30+ individual contractors.
  • Delivered 100+ projects while maintaining customer satisfaction above 9/10.
  • Led all the ongoing projects, including assigning work to teams such as UI or development, creating work breakdown items for the development team, tracking each work item, removing blockers, and ensuring it was done on time and within budget.

Telekom Banking

Created a new business unit in Telekom Romania and launched the first telco-banking partnership on the Romanian market.

As a consultant in the New Business Development department at Telekom, I defined and implemented a new business model for the Romanian market: a partnership between a telco company and a bank under the Telekom brand. To accomplish this, I collaborated with the Telekom chief of staff to create and implement a digital banking strategy in the telco company with 7,000+ employees and a complex array of multiple systems to integrate. Besides this project, I was involved in other projects, such as bill payments, mPOS initiatives, or P2P payments.

Led a team of program and project managers delivering projects with teams of 100+ people and budgets of $10+ million per year.

I led a team of 5-10 program managers delivering complex telecom cross-functional projects for all Optiva customers. My team managed between 50-100 active projects across multiple Optiva products and different technologies, with an engineering cost of around $10 million per year. The program managers drove the engineering development efforts while working directly with engineering managers, engineers, the QA team, executive teams, external stakeholders, and third-party suppliers.

After taking over the team's management, I started implementing standard metrics to measure my team's productivity. I then started a process transformation that led to improvements of up to 10x in different business areas, such as cost per unit delivered. Jira usage was enforced, processes were automated, and automatic sheet reading from Jira was improved, leading to significant increases in team monitoring and productivity.

PayU Romania

Drove a radical shift in the business model, migrating the company from a credit card to a payment solution company.

I created PayU's vision for the future and ensured it became a reality. Being focused on continuous innovation, I helped PayU migrate from a credit card processing company to a payment management company by launching the most comprehensive array of new products in the company's 10 years of history. By understanding the client's needs, focusing on customer satisfaction, and developing new features that attracted very big customers, I played a key role in the management team that doubled PayU's revenue in two years.
2002 - 2007

Master's Degree in Engineering

Politechnics University of Bucharest - Bucharest, Romania


Critical Lessons for Entrepreneurs



The Lean Startup

Stanford University


International Organization Management



Advanced Competitive Strategy



Critical Perspectives on Management



Jira, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Slack, Basecamp, SQL, Trello, Asana, Miro, GitHub


Implementation Project Management, Scrum, Agile, Kanban, B2B2C, B2B, Agile Leadership, Agile Project Management, Business to Business to Consumer (B2B2C)

Industry Expertise

Banking & Finance, Telecommunications


iOS, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Android, Magento, Zendesk


Payment Gateways, Payment Processing, Electronic Payments, Program Management, Project Management, Software Implementation, Management Reporting, Delivery Management, Project Management Office (PMO), Project Delivery, Implementation, System Integration, IT Project Management, Product Roadmaps, Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Fintech, Business Cases, System Implementation, Client Management, Stakeholder Management, Technical Project Management, Reporting, Process Improvement Project Management, Dashboards, Online Banking, Product Strategy, Python 3, Mobile Banking, Business Setup, Card Payments, Mobile Payments, User Experience (UX), User Research, B2B Partnerships, API Integration, Workflow, Active Server Pages (ASP), ASP.NET, PHP, Outsourcing, Telecom Equipment & Solutions, Java, React, Mobile, Databases, Monitoring, AWS DevOps, QA Testing, Team Leadership, Custom APIs, Customer Success, User Interface (UI), Integration, Tracking, Sprint Planning, Sprint Retrospectives

Collaboration That Works

How to Work with Toptal

Toptal matches you directly with global industry experts from our network in hours—not weeks or months.


Share your needs

Discuss your requirements and refine your scope in a call with a Toptal domain expert.

Choose your talent

Get a short list of expertly matched talent within 24 hours to review, interview, and choose from.

Start your risk-free talent trial

Work with your chosen talent on a trial basis for up to two weeks. Pay only if you decide to hire them.

Top talent is in high demand.

Start hiring