People from eight countries make up the Adriatic Region team. The common goal: to establish the Geberit brand in a region with major economic and social differences. The masterpiece succeeds every day anew.
Vladimir Kukina steps sheepishly from one foot to the other. There he is, on the steps of a winery on the Istrian peninsula in Croatia, listening to the laudatory speech by Miran Medved, Managing Director of Geberit Adriatic. From time to time, Vladimir Kukina takes a step back into the shade of the arbours, as if to hide his shining eyes. He is not used to so much attention: it is a laudation for and about him.
Vladimir Kukina is retiring at this team event. He is 70. Since 1999, even before the first Geberit company was founded in Slovenia, the engineer has been applying his knowledge and skills for the Geberit brand on the Balkan peninsula. He will miss Geberit, he says: “Geberit Adriatic is my family.“
One became eight
Such a statement is surprising. 56 people representing a total of eight countries, seven languages and four religions form a team that works together constructively. That is not a matter of course. Especially not when one remembers that this region was the scene of violent conflicts until 25 years ago. Hardly any family was spared. The wars lasted the entire nineties. About 200,000 people lost their lives in the conflicts, millions fled.
How do you work together as a team with this past?
Eight becomes one
“We had only one focus from the beginning: it was called work,“ Vladimir Kukina responds. “That helped us put all the differences behind us.“
The consistent focus is part of the success in the Adriatic region. Founded in 2001 as a separate company with five employees, Geberit Adriatic now has 56 people and records annual sales in the double-digit millions. One of the largest urban development projects in Europe is currently being realised in Belgrade - and the sanitary technology group is involved with numerous products. Geberit is now an established brand and a secure value in the region.
Responsibility and trust
The other part of the success story is summed up by Managing Director Miran Medved in just three words: “responsibility and trust“. He explains, “We all know about our differences, which is precisely why we emphasise our cohesion, work together on potentials and strengths and cultivate team spirit.“ A performance that the whole team achieves every day.
The Adriatic Region team works across borders in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania. The smallest country is Montenegro with about 620,000 inhabitants; the largest is Serbia with a population of 6.9 million. The countries are also very different in terms of economic development and purchasing power: while Slovenia has a gross domestic product per capita of over 23,000 euros, this is around 3,500 euros in Kosovo.