homepage_name! > Editions > Number 127-128 > Interview - Ante Aralica MOL

Ante Aralica, CEO of MOL Serbia

MOL – 15 Years of Trust

MOL has been present in the Serbian market for 15 years. We are known among our consumers for high quality EVO and EVO PLUS fuels which meet all European standards, enhance engine performance, and reduce harmful gas emissions. The Depot in Sremski Karlovci was opened as a part of our business strategy and our desire to ensure long-term presence in the Serbian market. The warehouse has been operational since September. The fuel is supplied from MOL Group's refineries, ensuring guaranteed fuel supply.

1.Would you describe your career path before assuming the CEO position at MOL Serbia?

My first professional steps date back to 2001 at Konzum, followed by the position of a trade marketing and distribution manager at British American Tobacco. After this professional experience, I joined the TDR Sector of Adris Group in 2006, where I held the position of the Regional Trade Marketing Manager. In 2009, I started as the head of Adris' operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina as director of Opresa d.d. Sarajevo. I remained there until January 2015 when I became the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the Director of Holdina.

This May, I was appointed CEO of MOL Serbia. Nowadays, in addition to running MOL Serbia, I also perform the duties of the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the Director of Holdina d.o.o. Sarajevo.

2.Another business year draws to a close. What are the company's results, and have you achieved the planned goals?

On a recently published Business TOP 2018/2019 List, we were ranked 18th according to operating income. We were particularly successful in retail sales, where we ranked 2nd as per net profit in the category Retail Sales Except Trade of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles, while we ranked 3rd in terms of operating income. We ranked 2nd in the quantity of fuel distributed to the Serbian market. Our goal is to continue expanding our network of service stations to ensure we are available to all our consumers. We are proud of the results achieved in the Serbian market and we will make an effort to improve them further. Our goal is to ensure our customers are offered products and services which will fully meet all their requirements.

3.After more than 15 years of operation in Serbia, MOL Serbia became one of the leaders in its industry. This September, you opened your first Fuel Depot in Sremski Karlovci. How significant is this investment and what purpose does it serve?

MOL has been present in the Serbian market for 15 years. We are known among our consumers for high quality EVO and EVO PLUS fuels which meet all European standards, enhance engine performance, and reduce harmful gas emissions. The Depot in Sremski Karlovci was opened as a part of our business strategy and our desire to ensure long-term presence in the Serbian market. The warehouse has been operational since September. The fuel is supplied from MOL Group's refineries, ensuring guaranteed fuel supply.

4.What are your ongoing and future activities in terms of opening new service stations and network expansion?

For MOL Serbia, the current year has been marked by opening of new service stations and the previously mentioned fuel depot in Sremski Karlovci. Recently, we have opened a service station in Surčin and there are plans to finish this year with a few more new service stations. As we continuously strive to understand the needs of our customers, next year we intend to focus on the expansion of our retail network. Though we are currently present on all major routes, we wish to increase our presence in the cities of Serbia, to make sure we are as close to our customers as possible. Our plan is an ambitious one and we are certain that by the end of next year, we will be able to boast about even more service stations throughout Serbia.

5.In addition to various types of fuel available at your service stations, what other services do you offer to your customers?

One of the reasons why a MOL Serbia service station is more than a place to stop for refueling is its Fresh Corner. For drivers, it provides rest in an agreeable atmosphere offering a combination of top-quality products and services of the highest standard. We are proud of our fast services and personnel's readiness to meet all customers' requirements and needs. Fresh Corner offers a wide selection of fresh coffees, sandwiches, cakes, and crisp pastries which are among the most sought-after items suited to people constantly on the move. The Fresh Corner concept it available throughout the region and it had become customers' favorite soon after its launch. It is characterized by high quality products and services in all countries, with adjustments tailor-made for local preferences. Customers say that coffee is exceptionally good, and we respond by saying that we will continue to surprise them with new offers catering to their wishes and tastes.

6.Digitalization is an integral part of business operations. How do you adjust to changes in technology?

Speedy development of technology has brought about changes in customers' habits and raised their environmental awareness, resulting in conceptual and visual changes of the service stations. The MOL Strategy by 2030 recognizes the importance of technological development and we endeavor to lead the changes which are bound to take place in this market. The strategy also includes digitalization processes that will help us better understand customers' needs. Moreover, our goal is to connect the customers with our brand through mobile apps, personalized e-mails, and other services. The idea is to use the possibilities provided by technology and to analyze customers’ purchase habits in order to know, at any given time, what the customers need to be able to provide customized offer.

7.MOL Serbia operates as part of MOL Group. Can you compare its business operations in Serbia with those in the regional markets?

MOL Serbia's market position in Serbia was built on high quality of its services provided both to retail and wholesale consumers, while the standards we base our operations on are in line with those applied by MOL Group. Differences in operations between the countries in the region mostly relate to customers’ habits which vary from country to country and which we endeavor to accommodate.

Serbian market is highly competitive, consequently motivating us to come up with innovations and services which will make our offers stand out among our competitors. Fuel is not the only factor customers take into account when choosing the service station to take a break. Our attitude towards customers is very important as well as additional services on offer. We continuously monitor the market conditions and development, both in Serbia and the region, while simultaneously making attempts at innovations in certain segments.

8.MOL Serbia is renowned for its corporate social responsibility. Would you tell us about the projects you have implemented so far and what plans for the future you have?

As of last year, every customer with a car seat in his/her vehicle can get advice on safe driving of children and can also check whether the seat is adequately installed. Last year, we initiated the project "Game Is for Children, Children's Lives Are Not a Game" and we have been receiving very good response both from the customers and the general public.

In cooperation with the Traffic Safety Agency, we recently organized a competition "Game Is for Children, Children's Lives Are Not a Game" giving a chance to parents, who post their child's drawings of the most interesting details of their journey, to win one of three car seats for children between 9–36 kg.

The goal of this competition and the project itself was to raise awareness about the importance of proper installation and use of car seats and children's safety in traffic because the statistics and research conducted by the Traffic Safety Agency show that this is one of the areas whereby parent-drivers need to be additionally educated.

9.This year, you won some important awards, such as "100 largest companies", "Regional Business Partner" and "Flower of Success for Dragon Lady 2019" – for gender-sensitive company. Do these awards testify to enthusiasm and carefully planned out strategy as always being victorious?

The Regional Business Partner award is a very important recognition for MOL Serbia because the company has been recognized as the best Hungarian company by other companies and business partners. The fact that this is not the first time MOL received this award demonstrates our dedication towards achieving the goal of business development in the Serbian market.

Winning the third most gender-sensitive company recognition is the result of MOL Serbia's resolve to offer equal opportunities to both men and women in an oil company. It is our great satisfaction that both the jury panel and the organizers of the "Flower of Success for Dragon Lady 2019" event recognized MOL Serbia as a company whose business is in line with the rules of gender equality. Nearly half of MOL Serbia's employees are women, 9 of them holding managerial positions. Our employees have the opportunity to strike a balance between professional and personal obligations as they have the option to be home-based four times a month or to adjust their work hours to their needs. Our women-colleagues are regular participants in programs organized by MOL Group which provide support to women through Women Leadership Network or programs for identification and improvement of managers.

10.Your job is dynamic, but also demanding. How do you overcome day-to-day stress?

Leading a large company such as MOL Serbia requires great responsibility, time, commitment, and everyday adjustments. All this is necessary if you wish to succeed and raise your company's business to a higher level. I work out intensively and use every opportunity for training. It helps me bring better focus to work on a daily basis and to ensure that I complete all of my work-related duties in the best way possible. Also, since my work is highly dynamic and demanding, I make an effort to spend all my spare time with my family.


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