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Coca Cola HBC head: I did not foresee the crisis, but I expected the downturn

"Călin Drăgan, 44, general manager of Coca Cola HBC Romania and Moldova (the bottler of drinks part of Coca Cola portfolio), says that while he did not foresee the financial crisis, he anticipated during the boom period, when the economy grew by over 5%, that a market decline would follow.

"I cannot lie and say I saw the crisis coming. I only believed that we would no longer see increases of above 15% and that the market would stabilise at growth of 10%, and this is why I took the measures that I took".

Drăgan, who has run Coca Cola HBC for 6 years, also says that in 2008 he decided to make cost-cutting moves whose results are now visible.

"Three years ago, when we moved to slash costs, everybody was looking at us, saying we were crazy. Now, though, we can see the fruit of these measures," he says without providing further details.

Coca-Cola in Q1 sold in Romania 12% fewer cases against a year ago, on the still challenging economic climate. In Romania, consumption, which increased by over 10% during the boom period, declined by over 5% in Q1. However, Drăgan is upbeat." by ZF