Though privatized in 1998, Telekom Slovenije is still controlled
by the Slovenian government thanks to its 62% stake. With revenues
in 2005 totaling just 380 million euros, Telekom Slovenije isn't
exactly a major player in the European telecommunications sector.
Then again, Slovenia's population numbers only 2.1 million inhabitants.
Telekom Slovenije's headquarters
complex sits on a prime corner in downtown Ljubljana with the
city's central train station just across the street. A 13-story
building (built in the 1970's?) sits adjacent to a 4-story brownish
building (built in the 1950's?). A two-story reflective glass
structure seems to connect the two-though it doesn't mesh very
well with either building. A transmission tower, which undoubtedly
could be parlayed into a lit-up Christmas tree during the holidays,
sits atop the taller building.
A security guard mans the reception desk in the 13-story building
and the lobby area is very small with one sofa off to the side.
I explain sending my introduction material a month earlier to
CEO Libor Voncina, only to learn Voncina recently left the company.
The guards places a few calls and says I should drop back later.
Returning in the afternoon the same guard connects me via lobby
phone with Boris Ziherl, Public Relations Office. In a few minutes
Ziherl is in the lobby and says my letter of introduction hadn't
been received. After much pleading from me, Ziherl agrees to
answer my questions sitting on the lobby sofa. It's quite frustrating
though as it's 3PM and thanks to flexible work time, employees
are pouring out of the elevators heading home. It's hard asking
question above the noise. It's also pretty much a wasted visit
thanks to the indifferent Ziherl.
About 400 people work here with senior management enjoying reserved
parking spots. Conference rooms are numbered, the food in the
company cafeteria according to Ziherl is "pretty good",
smoking isn't allowed in offices and the company's art collection
is primarily limited to Slovenian artists. Any employee perks?
Discounts on phone services.
I ask if I can see the boardroom and CEO Bojan Dremelj's office
and am met with a dismissive "no". "Why not?",
I ask. "There are eye and fingerprint scanners", says
Ziherl. I look at Ziherl in disbelief but don't say anything.
I've been to almost 4,000 companies around the world and have
never once seen or heard of companies using eye or fingerprint
scanners. So, I'm supposed to believe that this government-controlled,
minnow-size telecommunications company in a not-too-long-ago
former communist country is that high-tech? I think it has more
to do with Ziherl just wanting to get through the questions and
Well, so much for getting a feel of the corporate culture here.
I travel all the way from California to visit this company and
the result is a five-minute meeting in a noisy lobby with an
indifferent company press officer. Was my letter of introduction
mailed a month earlier to the former CEO opened by the new CEO?
If it was opened, where was it directed? If it wasn't opened,
Company website: www.telekom.si