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Marjana Davidović interview: Challenges motivate us to be even better

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This year has proved challenging for numerous companies. Do you believe Nestlé adequately responded to all the hardships brought about by the outbreak of COVID-19?

The safety of our employees, business partners, and the community we are doing business in remains paramount. We took extensive steps to make sure our colleagues can continue working remotely, while our field workers were provided with all the necessary safety gear. Through education, we made sure that our employees have the latest information about the outbreak, thus raising the awareness about the situation to a higher level and making sure they and their families remain safe and healthy. We paid extra attention when it comes to the local community, making sure that we set a good example on how to protect yourself. Owing to the timely reaction of our supply chain, distribution centers, and our partners, we managed to secure uninterrupted production and make sure the shelves are stocked even during the pandemic. This will remain our priority for the upcoming period, until we, both as a member of the society and a commercial subject, return to a normal state of affairs. It should be noted that the feedback from the employees to the undertaken measures was overwhelmingly positive. This is extremely important for the entire company and for the results we managed to achieve.

Are you satisfied with the business results achieved by Nestlé so far during this year?

Despite the pandemic, Nestlé is on track to achieve a successful business year, and the numbers prove it – in the first three quarters of 2020 we noticed an organic growth of over 3%. Locally, we are growing even faster, which in turn increases our contribution to commerce. Our strength lies in a strong and diverse portfolio that showed significant resilience during the course of the pandemic. I am very satisfied that we, as leaders in numerous categories in the local market, showed courage and swiftness to react and adapt to new circumstances. Good results are not a reason to let down our guard, so we will continue to timely adapt to new market trends such as the digitalization of our business and communication with consumers, which increases our efficiency especially in an environment where changes occur daily.

Can you reveal your future plans, now that you have assumed the position of Country Manager for Nestlé Adriatic Hub South?

We have very ambitious plans, with an emphasis on educating our employees and, as I previously mentioned, the digitalization of our business. We expect continued growth in all segments, launching new categories, and further adaptation to the current circumstances. We will continue to work on preserving the environment with great fervor, as well as continue the investments in the Nestlé Surčin factory that became the first factory in Serbia to achieve the “Zero Waste to Landfill” goal last December, i.e. not a single gram of waste from the factory ends up on landfills but is rather recycled or repurposed.

We will not give up on creating numerous opportunities for young professionals to develop and hone the skills that will make it easier for them to succeed in their future careers. We have moved the bulk of these activities into the online domain, so that we may continue educating young people and sharing knowledge without any additional risk. So far, we have brought a myriad of innovations to the local and regional market, while continually improving our products so that we may provide the consumers with the best possible quality.

During the previous period, we have made numerous donations to hospitals through medical equipment and we have helped the marginalized groups by donating our products. However, we will wakefully monitor the developing pandemic situation and we plan further donations to aid the community we are a part of.

Marjana Davidović assumed the position of Country Manager of Nestlé Adriatic Hub South on 1 November 2020, succeeding Marian Marinov, who will remain as Head of Finance & Control for SEE markets. Marjana Davidović garnered extensive experience by contributing to the rise of sales in Nestlé. She began her career in Nestlé in 2007 as a Sales Development Manager, moving to the position of Director of Sales in 2013. The excellent results she achiever recommended her in 2019 for the position of CEO for NESCAFÉ in Poland, from where she moved to the leading position of the company in Serbia.