Steel group exec appointed new GZS chairman

Ljubljana – Tibor Šimonka, a senior vice-president of the steel group SIJ, has been elected new chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) for the next two years to succeed Boštjan Gorjup.

Šimonka plans to build on a 170-year tradition of the chamber and over a century-long tradition of steel industry, expertise, experience and involvement in the Slovenian and international business space to build a chamber of the future.

In a press release, GZS said joint efforts would continue based on the Slovenia 5.0 programme and development partnership.

As his main guidelines, Šimonka identified green transition, support for digitalisation, innovation, research and development, helping GZS members to make use of financial funds, internationalisation and employee career development.

His key short-term priorities include the next stimulus legislative package to help businesses cope with the fallout from Covid-19, measures to re-start the economy after the pandemic, an investment platform to tap on EU funds, investment in research and development and de-bureaucratisation.

He believes it is not a question whether Slovenia needs a cap on social contributions, but when it will be introduced. The proposal is to make part of the government’s de-bureaucratisation legislation.

Šimonka believes the chamber “must be the state’s strongest partner to be able to exert its influence through positions and proposals before legislative solutions are passed to shape legislative frameworks that would allow the economy to grow and develop for the benefit of everyone”.

Šimoka was elected by the chamber’s assembly on Wednesday, defeating Simon Franko, the CEO of BASF Slovenija. He succeeds Boštjan Gorjup, CEO of BSH Hišni Aparati, whose term ends on 27 May. He has served as GZS chairman since May 2017.

Gorjup urged making a step forward to make Slovenia 5.0 as a society of sustainable development that would harness science, artificial intelligence, industry 4.0 and innovation to create jobs, social security and environmental stability at the highest global standards.