The Slovenia Times

Former Fructal manager gets lifetime achievement award


The award will be handed out at Thursday's ceremony in Ljubljana, when the young manager of the year is also be declared.

Rijavec "belongs to the group of Slovenian managers with recognisable and far-reaching business results", the association said as it announced the winner.

Rijavec, 63, started her career as head of quality control in food and chemical company Šampionka Renče. Her next stop was fruit juice producer Fructal, where she took over as chairman at the age of 39.

She played the key role as the company had to reinvent itself after the break-up of Yugoslavia as its main market. Following a successful reorganisation, Fructal became the biggest Slovenian processor of fruit, present on 18 markets worldwide.

After Fructal was sold to Slovenian brewer Pivovarna Union in 2000, she resigned as chairman and entered the cosmetics business.

Rijavec's next challenge was to reform the cosmetics unit of pharmaceutical company Lek into an independent company. Under her six-year reign, Lek Kozmetika solidified its position as a market leader in Slovenia, the association explained.

At the beginning of 2007, Rijavec took the challenge of salvaging the struggling dairy producer Ljubljanske mlekarne. She managed to turn a EUR 13m annual loss into profit in just two years, including by doubling the company's exports.

In 2013 Ljubljanske mlekarne was sold to France's Lactalis, and two years later Rijavec retired from her managerial career.

Rijavec was a member of the European Milk Board and the executive committee of the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS). She also presided over the women's section of the Managers' Association and was a member of the upper chamber of parliament.

Last year the special recognition from the Managers' Association went to Danica Purg, the long time director and dean of the IEDC Bled School of Management.

The annual get-together of the Managers' Association will be an opportunity for politicians and diplomats to join business representatives.

PM Miro Cerar will be among those addressing the event to present his government's activity to increase the country's competitive edge.


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