Pavol Kanuch – The Coca-Cola Company
Placed into the role of The Coca-Cola Company Operational Manager Slovakia
First contact; May 2000
Pavol has been involved with Coca-Cola and with Beverage Partners Worldwide (Coca-Cola JV with Nestle for Nestea products) since I placed him there 17 years ago!
He has been through 8 promotions since then. His career has seen him evolve across multiple markets and categories and into his current role where he runs Beverage Partners (Nestea)NESTEA as International Commercial & Marketing Manager at Beverage Partners Worldwide based out of Zurich.
1. Tell me how your career has developed since I placed you?
As you’ve already mentioned, I started at the Coke System back in July 2000 as Operational Marketing Manager in Slovakia. Three years later, the offices in Bratislava and Prague were merged and I accepted position of Non-Carbonated Beverages Marketing Manager for Czechia and Slovakia. One of my key projects at that time was a launch of NESTEA iced tea in these two markets and since then I simply fell in love with this product. Fortunately, NESTEA was in my area of responsibility also at my new assignment, when I was promoted to Division Marketing Manager New Beverages for Central Europe Division. That was my first real international position and I learned a lot how to work with (and later on lead) multi-functional teams in a multi-cultural environment. In 2007, people from BPW approached me with an offer to join the JV and become a member of highly international team managing NESTEA brand in EMEA. And since then (with a 2 year break spent on helping the Russian Coke team to shape their energy drinks strategy) I’ve been working on several different positions at BPW.
2. You have had an amazing career within Coca-Cola Pavol and obviously delivered some amazing successes, could you share with me some of your highlights?
You are right, within these exciting 17 years I have reached number of really interesting achievements; however, when I think about them retrospectively, there is one achievement that stands out high above all others and I am really proud of it: Back in 2007-9, Beverage Partners in EMEA zone has launched a new range of NESTEA iced tea products based on green, red and white teas. This project in fact established a new green tea segment of iced tea category in Europe. As leader of the project, I had this unique opportunity to put my hands on all phases of the launch preparation, including the development of the Vitao sub-brand proposition, “cooking” the product formulas, creation on the communication strategy and the entire IMC…. down to coordination of the launch execution in 17 EMEA markets. The results were just amazing: By the end of 2019, the Vitao’s sales represented 17% of the total NESTEA volume in EMEA zone and it contributed to the brand’s value market share increase with 2 percentage points.
3. How has being internationally mobile impacted the family?
In fact, our family was always very keen to explore new countries and new cultures. Our son, after being graduated at bi-lingual gymnasium decided to continue his studies in the UK – first at Leicester University and now at University of Art in London. My wife decided to become a “professional housewife” already 20 years ago, so for her every relocation means mainly an opportunity to meet new people and enjoy life in a new exciting location, such as culturally rich Moscow or astonishingly beautiful nature of Switzerland.
4. You must do some amazing air miles and am just curious how you unwind and destress yourself?
Personally, I’ve never had any problem with an intensive traveling. The more I travel, the more I learn about how to make it less stressful or even enjoyable. Surprisingly enough, the life “in the air” provides a lot of opportunities to enjoy my biggest hobby – oenology. Simply wherever I fly, I always make sure I taste a glass of local wine. Besides that, we regularly play squash with my colleagues from BPW… and every weekend (if the weather allows it) my wife and I explore new places in Alps, by foot in summer, on skis in winter.
5. Do you remember our first conversations and if I helped in anyway back then?
Of course, I remember our conversation…. and I remember that in a sharp contrast with my other interviews our conversation was very unformal, friendly, yet extremely useful for me. At that time I had two other job offers on my table and you were the one who convinced me to join Coca-Cola. As the past 17 years have confirmed, it was the right decision.