In accordance with the strategic direction of the company’s further development, Fortenova Group’s Board of Directors decided to additionally strengthen the management teams at Fortenova Group and some of its operating companies. Joining the team of strategic directors are thus Gordana Fabris, as Group Executive Director of Human Resources and Hido Lajtman, in the position of Group Executive Director for Legal Affairs and Compliance.
When it comes to changes in the operating companies, Tomislav Bagić, former President of the Management Board of Tisak, has become new member of the Management Board of Konzum in charge of operations, Helena Klarić, so far President of the Management Board of MultiPlusCard, has assumed the position as President of the Management Board of Tisak, while the Management Board of MultiplusCard will be headed by Bojan Radlović, who will, along with his new position, continue to manage Fortenova Group’s digital operations as Director of Digital Transformation.
„With all these management changes, along with the focus on the Group’s business development, we wanted to additionally enhance the overall organisation. We are proud of the internal advancement of our high-quality managers who have already proved themselves with their work and results so far. We have been working together for years and all of them – from Gordana and Hido to Tomislav, Helena and Bojan – are committed and dedicated managers who know the system and Group values, the teams they are heading as well as all our comparative advantages and challenges really well. Their past contributions to our joint efforts in raising the Group’s operational excellence are a guarantee that in their new roles and responsibilities they will be even more committed to creating added value for all our employees, customers and partners. I wish them all a lot of success and excellent results in their future work”, Fabris Peruško, Fortenova Group’s Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors commented on the changes.
Gordana Fabris has since 2018 been in the position of Fortenova Group’s Director of Human Resources. Over that period, she has implemented a number of projects focused on supporting the business strategy and the priorities of Fortenova Group’s operating companies, which include strategic planning and employee development, rewarding systems, organizational change management as well as the overall organization and management of all other functions of Human Resources. She gained her previous professional experience in several industries – from the FMCG market to insurance and sales, and in the period from 2003 to 2017 she was responsible for the human resources management function in the Valamar hotels and resorts and at Valamar Rivijera. She holds a degree in psychology from the University of Zagreb and graduated from the EMBA studies of the Cotrugli Business School in Zagreb in 2014. She won the Best HR Manager Award in 2012 as well as two awards for Best HR Practices.
Hido Lajtman started his professional career at the former Agrokor in 2008, where he worked in different positions within Legal Affairs until 2015. From 2015 to 2019 he served as Director and Executive Director in Legal Affairs. With the commencement of Fortenova Group’s operations he assumed the position of Director of Legal Affairs and Compliance. Over the course of his professional career at Agrokor and Fortenova Group he has managed the legal team that negotiated and developed the creditors’ settlement plan, realized the financing at the time of the Extraordinary Administration and the refinancing in the amount of more than EUR 1 billion with international creditors. He ran the legal process for the Frozen Food Business Group divestment and was one of the sponsors of the legal aspects of both Agrokor’s original takeover of Mercator as well as Fortenova’s final takeover of 100% of Mercator which was completed in 2021. Hido Lajtman graduated from the Law School of the University of Zagreb in 2007 and passed the bar exam in 2011.
Tomislav Bagić, former President of the Management Board of Tisak, has transferred to the Management Board of Konzum, to the position of Board Member in charge of operations. He started his professional career as regional retail manager at Konzum d.d. and in 2009 he joined Mercator-H d.o.o., where he first served as Director of Retail and then as Executive Director of Retail, Wholesale and Logistics, to become Member of the Management Board of the company in 2013. From 2016 to 2018 he was President of the Management Board of Konzum d.o.o. Bosnia and Herzegovina. He joined Tisak in 2018 as Member of the Management Board and became President of the Management Board in 2019. Over the last four years under his management, along with the primary focus on the customer, Tisak has digitalized and developed its operations with numerous innovative services and projects, enabling it to keep its position as the leading kiosk retail chain.
Helena Klarić, new President of the Management Board of Tisak, has joined Tisak from the position of President of the Board of MultiPlusCard, Croatia’s largest loyalty programme. Over the period of only three years at MultiPlusCard, she made a great stride in digitalizing its operations with the new omnichannel loyalty platform and the extension of the programme with new partners and functionalities for all users. Prior to that, from 2009 to 2020 she was Assistant Director for the areas of retail and investments at Konzum. From 2003 to 2008 she worked at the Nielsen market research agency. Helena Klarić graduated from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and holds a postgraduate degree in management (DSM).
Bojan Radlović is the new President of the Management Board at MultiPlusCard. Bojan holds an MBA degree from the London Business School and spent the last 10 years in various leading positions within the global digital ecosystem. He first worked at McKinsey & Company, where he ran several large digital transformation projects in various industries and then at Red Ventures, the largest American digital media company, where he was responsible for establishing and growing the business in Europe. Having spent 18 years abroad, he joined Fortenova Group on 1st September 2022 in the position of Group Director of Digital Transformation and will, along with his new position at MultiPlusCard, also keep managing the digital transformation at Group level.
By decision of Fortenova Group’s Board of Directors Tomislav Kramarić, Member of the Management Board of Mercator, has assumed the position of President of the Board of Mercator d.o.o. Ljubljana effective today, replacing in that position Tomislav Čizmić, who leaves the company by mutual agreement.
Having managed Mercator’s retail operations since December last year as Member of the Management Board, Tomislav Kramarić has now assumed responsibility for the entire company and its full transformation towards a cost-effective and profitable part of Fortenova Group’s regional retail business. This is particularly important with regard to the market circumstances and dynamic changes and challenges faced by retail companies on all markets due to inflation and other instabilities. Given the results that he achieved in running Konzum’s retail operations, particularly during the operational consolidation period over the course of the Extraordinary Administration as well as through the challenges of the pandemic and global crisis, the Board of Directors considers Kramarić to be the best choice when it comes to managing the entire transformation process at Mercator.
“It has been a full two years since the transfer of Mercator to Fortenova Group’s ownership. In the meantime we have realized a number of activities focused on consolidation and taking over the 100 percent ownership, as well as the additional stabilization of the company’s operations. Tomislav Čizmić headed Mercator in the most sensitive period for the company and made a great contribution to stabilizing its operations as well as running and closing the process of Mercator’s transitioning to Fortenova Group and we sincerely thank him for that. We are currently in the process of integrating all parts of our retail business into a compact network and given the dynamics in the environment, we continuously keep looking for models to improve our regional operations in order for them to be to the benefit of all stakeholders, on all markets. Part of this are also changes related to key responsibilities within the system. Hence this change is also part of those activities that will, we are sure, lead to strengthening our market positions and to competitiveness in the long term for Mercator, and consequently for the entire retail business, too” – said Fabris Peruško, Fortenova Group’s Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors, on the occasion of introducing the change at the helm of Mercator.
Until joining the Management Board of Mercator in December 2022, Tomislav Kramarić built his career at Konzum over the course of fourteen years, having held a number of managerial positions. Among other things, he spent five years as Director of Retail, to assume responsibility for the retail business as Member of the Management Board of Konzum in 2020. He graduated from the Zagreb Faculty of Economics and completed MBA studies at the IEDC Bled School of Management.
Agrolaguna’s new Istrian cheese, olive oil and wine tasting room and store was opened today in Poreč at the address Mate Vlašića 34. With the new creative concept called Taste&Shop Festigia Agrolaguna intends to enhance the offer of Istria’s oenology and gastronomy tourism. Attending the opening were Fabris Peruško, Fortenova Group’s Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors, Sotiris Yannopoulos, CEO of the Food Division at Fortenova Group, Nerina Zec, Chairwoman of the Management Board of Agrolaguna, Loris Peršurić, Mayor of the City of Poreč and Boris Miletić, Prefect of the County of Istria.
The newly opened store will offer its customers and visitors a wide range of premium Festigia and Vina Laguna wines, Ol Istria olive oils and Špin Istrian cheeses. The tasting room will be the venue for themed nights and educations about wine, oil and cheese and during the tasting events guests and customers will be introduced to the entire process and experience of creating Agrolaguna’s premium products. The intention is for this store and tasting room to also become the favourite gathering spot for all gourmets who appreciate indigenous Istrian products.
“The comprehensive renovation of this facility is an important part of Agrolaguna’s transformation into a modern wine, edible oil and cheese producer, a change supported by Fortenova Group both organisationally and investment-wise. The quality of our products has been acknowledged by numerous international awards, and having in mind the region’s tourism potential, with this new concept we have also made a step forward in terms of presentation because tourism is an equally important lever for the development of Agrolaguna as it is for the development of Istria. Our wish is for the tasting room, as well as for some other parts of the company like the vineyards or cellars, to become an indispensable point of the region’s tourist offer. The company has thus affirmed its responsibility towards its surrounding, contributing to the improvement of modern destination tourism, while also developing a partnership with the local community” – said Fabris Peruško, Member of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Fortenova Group on the occasion of the new store and tasting room opening.
Nerina Zec, Chairwoman of the Board of Agrolaguna, pointed out: “This concept constitutes a great opportunity to show both our long-standing and our new customers how much knowledge, experience and expertise we have invested in the production of high-quality local Istrian products. Our new Festigia tasting room and store offers a unique shopping and tasting experience, making it possible for all customers and visitors to get even closer to the Istrian culture.”
“There are many associations tied to Istria, one of them certainly being the comprehensive oenology and gastronomy offering, which is also the second most important motive for guests to visit our part of the world. As region we are too small to compete with mass production and therefore we have opted for excellence in everything we do. The County of Istria is proud of all achievements of our farmers and entrepreneurs, who have with their work and enthusiasm contributed to the promotion of the Istrian brand, Agrolaguna being one of them. Congratulations on the opening of the new tasting room” – said Boris Miletić, Prefect of the County of Istria, while Loris Peršurić, Mayor of the City of Poreč, pointed out that any city would be proud to call such a large producer of outstanding quality its own. “I believe that this boutique store will soon become a favourite spot for everyone who wants to take the taste of Poreč and Istria home with them. I would like to congratulate the entire collective that creates this products and wish them a lot of success going forward” – he said.
Fortenova Group, Konzum, Zvijezda and PIK Vrbovec are among 33 signatories that have today signed the voluntary agreement on preventing and reducing food waste “Together Against Food Waste” with the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Agreement is intended to drive the food sector’s social responsibility, as well as collaboration, exchange of experience and defining of common goals and activities of the stakeholders involved, with the ultimate goal of preventing and reducing the generation of food waste in Croatia by 30 percent by the year 2028.
The Agreement is part of the Food Waste Prevention and Reduction Plan in the Republic of Croatia for the period between 2023 and 2028, as well as the reform measure “Food Donation System Improvement” from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and is signed for a period of five years. Pursuant thereto, a working group will be established that will prepare a Common Annual Report, where the involved signatories are obligated to submit progress reports.
On behalf of Fortenova Group and its companies the Agreement was signed by Marina Burazer, Director of Marketing at Fortenova grupa d.d., Uroš Kalinić, Member of the Management Board of Konzum, Tomislav Alagušić, President of the Management Board of Zvijezda and Slaven Ružić, President of the Management Board of PIK Vrbovec.
“Fortenova Group, with its companies engaging in agriculture, production and retail of food, is aware of the importance of preventing and reducing the generation of food waste. We have signed the Agreement in order to contribute to the reduction of food waste as well as to influence the raising of public awareness of this topic by way of concrete and measurable contributions. Each one of us, both personally and at company level, can contribute to a solution and I am pleased to say that our companies have since many years been systematically working in that direction – from efficient stock management, raising public awareness and promotional activities for customers to food donations. Konzum, for example, has for five consecutive years been holding the title of The Best Donor, having donated more than 1 300 tonnes of food. Such initiatives are good for the entire planet, as well as for individual states, companies and consumers – all in all, they are in the common interest of all of us and deserve to be approached with due care” – Marina Burazer stated on this occasion.
As part of the DRIVE Beyond Exellence programme of improving the knowledge and skills of its employees, Fortenova Group has together with the COTRUGLI Business School started another education cycle through the Navigate Programme.
The second generation of students comprises 22 employees from 14 operating companies and Fortenova grupa d.d., most of them from the Food and Retail Divisions. Over 14 months of the education designed for Fortenova Group’s managers they will primarily strengthen their leadership skills, and working on a concrete operational project under the supervision of Fortenova Group’s Executive Directors they will consider improvements in their respective companies and acquire new, practical organisational knowledge. All of that will additionally affect the mobilization of their teams and organisations, as well as the realization of goals within Fortenova Group’s strategy.
„The systematic consolidation of Fortenova Group’s operations has been accompanied by the systematic support to the development of our key resource – our talents. That approach has reaped significant results because apart from having become one of the most desirable employers in the region in only four years of operations, we have also developed three own tailor-made education programmes with more than 250 of our employees having attended them in the first generation. Over the course of this month another nearly 200 collegues from across the Group shall start with new education cycles and hence over a period of two years almost 400 employees will undergo the internal education. Already the first generations have confirmed that investing in the expansion of knowledge and the personal growth and development of our talents also means that the Group’s potential in realizing its business objectives gets stronger. I am sure that the the contribution of the second generation of students in all DRIVE Beyond Excellence programmes will be equally strong and visible”, said Fabris Peruško, Fortenova Group’s CEO and Member of the Board of Directors, on the occasion of kicking off the second cycle of the Navigate programme.
„We are exceptionally pleased to be Fortenova Group’s education partner already for the second year and to continue contributing to the improvement of the professional competencies of Group employees through the “Drive Beyond Excellence – Navigate” programme, all with a view to achieving the set strategic goals, as well as to the not less important personal development.
As the leading business school in Southeast Europe we have always pointed out the importance of lifelong education and look forward to making our contribution to the personal, civic, social and business perspectives. I am convinced that the attendees of the programme will be important links in the development of their organisation and contribute to the competitiveness of the Croatian economy by personal example”, said Zoran Đorđević, Partner and Academic Director at the COTRUGLI Business School.
On 21st January 2020 Sarajevski kiseljak held an opening ceremony to put into operation the bottling line of its new factory in Kreševo. The new facility is the company’s largest strategic investment worth more than KM 20m in total.
The construction of the new factory spreading over an area of 30,000 square meters has provided for a significant increase in the production and storing area of Sarajevski kiseljak, leading producer of mineral waters and carbonated soft drinks in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the expansion of capacities as well as the factory’s modern technology will enable Sarajevski kiseljak to grow its annual production quantities and further strengthen the company’s market positions. The Kreševo factory employs 30 new workers.
At the opening ceremony attended by numerous invitees, Sarajevski kiseljak today put into operation the bottling line of its new factory in Kreševo, the company’s largest strategic investment worth more than KM 20m in total
„This strategic investment marks the beginning of a new era for Sarajevski kiseljak and is a large step forward in the company’s strategic positioning on the market. Last year we produced more than 120 million litres of water and refreshing soft drinks in the existing facilities. The brands of Sarajevski kiseljak and Jamnica dominate the bottled waters market of Bosnia and Herzegovina and are the first choice among consumers in this segment of the market. Technological improvement and the increased capacities in the new factory will make it possible for the results to be considerably higher. Thus we will additionally strengthen the leading position in Bosnia and Herzegovina and also have the lever to significantly expand into new markets. The new factory currently employs 30 new workers and that number will grow in the future as we will increasingly utilise the production capacities. I would like to thank everybody that contributed to the development and the start of operations of this plant / factory, and my big thanks especially goes to my predecessor and colleague Tomislav Slišković, to whom this factory is the highlight of his career and he can now peacefully retire“ – said Davor Čičić, Director of Sarajevski kiseljak on the occasion of the opening ceremony of the facility in Kreševo.
Renato Pejak, mayor of Kreševo municipality highlighted the exceptional importance of this event for Kreševo and its residents because opening jobs will help create better conditions for the existence of young people in Kreševo and help them stay, which is the primary goal and task of the municipality. “Kreševo has gotten a modern factory equipped by the highest standards, to the wellbeing of our entire community and that makes me, as Mayor, very satisfied. I am sure that in the future too we will together be oriented towards building, employment and economic prosperity, and finally a better and happier future in this area.” – said Pejak.
Tahir Lendo, Prime Minister of Central Bosnia Canton emphasized that an opening of a new factory is one more in a series of significant projects that are being realized in Central Bosnia Canton (CBC). “The Government of CBC is, according to its capabilities, always ready to support projects that represent a base for further economic development of the Canton. This is another confirmation that the Economy in our Canton is rising. I wish luck and success to all current and future employees of Sarajevski kiseljak.” – said Tahir Lendo, Prime Minister of CBC.
The facility in Kreševo is the first large production investment at Fortenova Group since several years and the holding company, together with Jamnica gave a significant support to its implementation. So, the opening ceremony was an opportunity for Fabris Peruško, Member of the Board of Directors and CEO of Fortenova Group to address the attendants as well.
„It is a great pleasure to attend the ceremony intended to mark this great greenfield investment in production. Personally, I am very happy to mark my second anniversary at the helm of this large company with this new investment. On a symbolic level, this factory represents a major turning point in our businesses, as this is Fortenova Group’s first production investment that, I believe, leaves the turbulent period we have been through completely behind us. We are particularly proud of the new jobs that have been opened, which is the most significant contribution of any employer to the community it operates in. Furthermore, with the new products to be produced in this facility the factory also stands for a developmental improvement, which is the key strategic guideline of Fortenova Group. I am certain that the new products that are soon to leave this facility will equally attract consumers and that Sarajevski kiseljak can look forward to a stable growth and development in the long term“, Fabris Peruško said on that occasion.
Production lines at the Kreševo factory represent the latest technological achievements in this field, including state-of-the-art production equipment and automated production process guidance. With a view to improving productivity and efficiency, all workers attended special training for the job. In line with the tradition and practice at Sarajevski kiseljak, the production processes in this factory will as well be run meeting high environmental standards and sustainable development principles.
The factory will soon launch Sara non-carbonated natural mineral water whose name was chosen in accordance with the best values of this water. In the forthcoming period, the factory in Kreševo will produce flavored water and juices.
Wines produced by Agrolaguna – Castello Festigia, Riserva LV and Merlot Festigia won gold medals at one of Europe’s most prestigious oenological competitions. Merlot Festigia also won the award for the best Croatian wine in this competition as selected by the journalist jurors. „Emozioni dal Mondo: Merlot e Cabernet Insieme“ is the world’s only competition focusing on Merlot and Cabernet and their blends and it is held under the auspices of the prestigious international organisation OIV – International Organisation of Vine and Wine.
Castello Festigia, Riserva LV and Merlot Festigia awarded at the world’s most prestigious oenological competition for Merlot and Cabernet
„We are exceptionally proud of the awards won in this prestigious competition. The OIV patronage provides this competition with additional credibility, which is yet another acknowledgement of the premium quality of wines produced in Istria. The harvest in our vineyards has been completed for this year and we will give our best to keep producing wines that will achieve such prestigious results in competition with the best global players“ said Milan Budinski, Director of Viticulture and Production at Agrolaguna.
Over the three days of the competition held in the beautiful Lombardian town of Bergamo, numerous guests enjoyed more than 257 samples of premium wines from 27 countries from all over the world.
Ledo’s Lino Lada ice cream was declared the world’s best ice cream, with the gold medal awarded to Lino Lada ice cream by the International Ice Cream Consortium at the competition held in Sweden, where Ledo products once again stood out due to their creativity, idea and production technology.
The International Ice Cream Consortium (IICC) is an association of all independent global ice cream producers, the purpose of which it is to exchange experience and acquire new knowledge through various educations and workshops. Each year their summit is held in one of the member states, with the highlight of the event being the presentation of awards in various categories.
Experts were particularly delighted with the unique form the the Lino Lada ice cream and the innovative soft dressing, but the decisive factor that made this ice cream become best in the world is the experience of the Lino Lada spread that was successfully translated into the ice cream.
The ice cream was created in cooperation with Podravka and launched on the market in April this year. The first batches were sold in only a few days, which made this ice cream the most sought after dessert.
„We take exceptional pride in this award and acknowledgment, confirming Ledo ice cream as the world’s best ice cream in the opinion of the industry, or independent global ice cream producers. This award is an additional acknowledgment of the committed work of our employees, and in particular our R&D team which has been transforming its creative ideas into finest ice cream and frozen food products. From year to year Ledo has been testing and developing plenty of various ice cream flavors and combinations, always with a view to meeting the requirements of its consumers, as they always come first. Being the best in the world is a great honour, as well as an obligation to keep producing highest quality ice cream going forward and to lead the way in terms of technological solutions, innovations and creativity on a global scale,“ said Marin Poljak, CEO of Ledo.
It is worth reminding that this is not the first acknowledgement to Ledo brands, as many awards have been won in various areas of operations, such as innovations, technical solutions and marketing communication. Thus the Hashtag project won the IICC award for the best commercial solution and the CROPAK award for the best graphic design. The company’s focus on quality and innovation is also confirmed by awards won for the most innovative ice cream, presented in previous years to the products Chocolate Cake on a Stick, Hot Love and Ice Snack, while best ice cream awards were presented to the products King Truffles and Blueberry Cake on a Stick, all awarded by the IICC Association.