Petrol d.d., Ljubljana
What retailer wouldn't mind enjoying a market share of almost
70%? Established in 1945 and state-owned until partially privatized
in 1996, Petrol is Slovenia's dominant gasoline retailer with
a 68% share of the domestic market. Petrol operates 348 service
stations, with 298 of those in Slovenia and the remaining located
in Croatia, Serbia and, Bosnia and Herzegovina. With revenues
of 1.7 billion Euros, Petrol occupies the top slot in a listing
of Slovenia's biggest companies.
The head office for Petrol is a 16-story building located about
a mile from downtown Ljubljana (population 300,000) on one of
the city's main thoroughfares. It's not hard to find the place
thanks to the big reddish-orange and white sign atop the building
sporting the name "Petrol" in large letters --which
is lit up at night. Unfortunately, as one gets closer the age
of the building becomes apparent. Built in the late 1940's or
early 1950's, the building hasn't aged well and the exterior
has a rundown look to it.
My contact person is Alenka Vrhovnik Tezak, the company's Chief
Financial Officer. How do I know this? My letter of introduction
mailed a month earlier to CEO Marko Kryzanowski was passed on
to Ms. Tezak, who let me know via e-mail that the letter had
been received and that she's my contact person.
I check-in with the two unsmiling security guards manning the
reception desk and am soon passing through the security turnstiles
up to the seventh floor. It's an enjoyable visit thanks to the
personable Ms. Tezak. Matter of fact, it's also a fattening visit.
Why? While going through my list of questions with Tezak I'm
also eating a delicious piece of pie she's furnished for each
of us. It's similar to apple strudel but with a custard-like
filling mixed-in and it's very good. I'm also very appreciative
of Tezak agreeing to meet today-especially since it's her first
day back from vacation.
Total employees at Petrol number 2,800 with 400 of those working
in this building. Senior management gets reserved parking spots,
smoking isn't allowed in offices and there's no formal dress
code. Thanks to the company cafeteria being located on the top
floor employees enjoy panoramic views of the area. It's a 15-minute
walk to the city center (old town), a 10-walk to the train station
and 25 miles to Ljubljana's airport.
I can't see the boardroom or CEO Kryzanowski's 7th floor corner
office down the hall from Tezak's due to meetings going on. What's
the view out Kryzanowski's window? The city center.
Company website: www.petrol.si