Atlantic Grupa d.d.
Atlantic Grupa imports and distributes consumer goods, produces
powdered instant vitamin drinks and the sale of sports and health
food. Want to buy Duracell batteries, Johnson & Johnson powders,
Wrigley chewing gum or Nestle pet foods in Croatia? Then you
have to go through Atlantic. Revenues total 185 million euros
with 1,200 employees.
Atlantic occupies one and a half floors of space in the six-story
Eurocenter, an office building built in 2005. It's a prime building.
How do I know this? IBM has offices here and from my travels
around the world I've found IBM only occupies Class A space.
Eurocenter also occupies a prime location with Zagreb's train
station a block away and Ulica Grada Vukovara, one of the city's
premier streets for businesses to be located on, a half-block
Walking into the building I'm immediately met by the overwhelming
stench of tobacco. To the immediate left is a coffee/smoking
bar. It's open seating with about a dozen tables and no walls
separating the café from the rest of the lobby. Must be
a dozen people puffing away. I pass the reception desk for the
building and attempt to make my way to the elevators but, I'm
stopped by receptionist, Martina Kosovec. She first wants to
see some identification (my passport is produced and she copies
down information). Then I explain what I do and how I sent a
letter of introduction five weeks earlier to CEO Emil Tedeschi.
Kosovec makes a call and I'm told to wait. After 10 minutes Kosovec
gets a call saying Atlantic knows nothing about my letter but
if I wait 15 minutes or so Davor Kunc, who heads corporate communications,
will come down. I agree. However, I tell receptionist Kosovec
that I'll wait outside as the stench from all the cigarette smoking
is giving me a headache as well as stinking up my body and clothes.
Kunc comes outside and I explain that I'm avoiding the smokers.
So, what does Kunc do? He invites me inside to a table in the
smoky coffee bar to answer my questions! Just as we sit down
in a corner table somewhat away from the smokers a group of six
women grab the table next to ours and all of them proceed to
pull out cigarettes and light up. This is not good.
About 120 people work here. Senior management enjoys reserved
parking, meeting rooms are named after company brands and smoking
isn't allowed in offices. There's no parking for employees who
commute to work via bicycle, it's a 15 minute walk to Zagreb's
city center, a 20 minute drive to the nearest freeway and Zagreb
airport and, employees get zero discounts on company products.
There's a cafeteria on the top floor that's open to building
I can't see CEO Tedeschi's corner office on the second floor
or the oval-shaped boardroom that seats 15. Why? Kunic says the
local media is always trying to write stories about Tedeschi
and the company doesn't allow anyone to see such things. Well,
that sets me off and tell Kunic that his excuse about not being
able to see CEO Tedeschi's office is lame. "Over the past
20 years I've visited almost 4,000 companies around the world
and have seen the CEO's offices of many of the world's biggest
companies. To be honest with you; your company is rinky-dink
in size. I come all the way from California to visit Atlantic
and give you exposure and the best you can do is give me a few
minutes in a stinky public lobby? I don't even get to see your
Here's this company that's sells powdered instant vitamin drinks
and sports food yet, rents space in building reeking of tobacco.
I'm sorry but in my view there's something out of whack.
Every company visited in Croatia came up with the same excuse;
that they never received my letter of introduction. Why is it
that the hotels I wrote to in Croatia for accommodations received
my letters? Methinks it has more to do with the way business
is done in Croatia. I heard Croatia was known for its secrecy
and lack of transparency but this is ridiculous.
Company website: www.atlantic.hr