Zagreb Holding Hopes Digitisation Will Give Service Users Better Experience

By 20 October 2019

As Novac/Matija Boltizar writes on the 17th of October, 2019, Zagreb Holding is generally perceived by the public only through the services provided by that company. First and foremost, these are the collection and disposal of household waste, followed by the supply of drinking water and drainage, the distribution and the supply of gas, and the maintenance of the roads and public green spaces.

That being said, Zagreb Holding also deals with less well-known services such as holiday arrangements for children and young people and pharmacy services, but what few people may know is that this company has a specific corporate governance structure.

Zagreb Holding is a publicly owned company, 100 percent owned by the City of Zagreb, which is also the sole founder of the company. It has fourteen subsidiaries, owns eight companies and one institution, has about 7,700 employees, more than one million users and is, in terms of number and type of services, a truly unique company in Croatia.

Running such a corporation has many challenges, the biggest of which is balancing financial profitability with providing complete and equal service to all of Zagreb's citizens. What corporate governance looks like in one such company, Ana Stojić Deban, the President of the Management Board of Zagreb Holding, explained in an interview.

''Zagreb Holding operates in the public interest and, unlike the private sector, the primary objective of the business is to achieve the financial and non-financial goals and interests of the wider community. Regardless of the ownership structure, corporate governance should certainly ensure a balance between the financial and strategic goals of the company and the business based on the principles of sustainable development, which, depending on the sector of business of the company, best contributes to the development of the local and general social community,'' stated Stojić Deban. She also noted that special attention is paid to business transparency.

Among other things, all information about Zagreb Holding's work is publicly available on the company's website. The basic document in this segment of their work is the Corporate Governance Code. Its purpose is to establish, maintain and develop high standards of corporate governance and transparent business operations. The company also applies a strict Code of Ethics. Zagreb Holding also has a dual corporate governance model that is typical of all companies within that group.

Considering that a large number of activities are performed as a public service, Stojić Deban points out that there is no possibility for any type of different organisation, that is, of changing the ownership structure of the company.

''It should be noted that most of our services are in the category of services of general economic interest, which aren't performed for profit but to ensure the delivery of these services to end users in an efficient, economical and purposeful manner, at the lowest cost to the customers. In order to ensure a balanced development of the city and accessibility of services to all categories of users, investing in the city's infrastructure is crucial for our business, with which decisions on obtaining capital are inevitably connected,'' explained Deban Stojić, noting that Zagreb Holding has, in the last two years alone, realised a massive 1 billion kuna of investments and 323 million kuna of investments in public buildings.

Due to the nature of its business, Zagreb Holding is exposed to various types of environmental, social and management risks.

''These have multiple impacts on the business - there are factors that can be influenced and/or predicted, and there are also those that cannot be influenced. Managing risks is the responsibility of the Board. In principle, we can't influence regulatory changes, but the potential to nullify negative financial consequences lies primarily in the conversational corporate governance and use of synergy of the group, both operationally and financially,'' emphasised the President of the Management Board.

In addition to transparency, Zagreb Holding pays great attention to communication. In addition to regular communication with investors and employees, Zagreb Holding assures its customers the availability of all services and related information 24 hours a day.

An important role is played by the company's call centre. Users can call just one number at any time to inquire about all of Holding's services, instead of needing to find and call twenty of them. There are also customer centres and a mobile office - a specialised vehicle that allows citizens to contract services from the Zagreb Holding portfolio almost on their own doorstep.

Communication via Internet services, numerous public forums, educational activities, free guides and leaflets should also be mentioned.

Speaking of the future of the business, Deban Stojić says that development plans are related to the interests primarily of the users of their services and the employees themselves.

''These are processes that are carried out on a continuous basis with the aim of fulfilling the basic task of Zagreb Holding - the efficient and lasting provision of services of public interest with maximum environmental protection and protection of the interests of the local community. In addition, business digitalisation enables us to tailor our services to the needs of our customers and these are the processes that will characterise Zagreb Holding's business in the future as well,'' concluded Deban Stojić.

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