New Jadrolinija Management Has No Experience in Maritime Affairs

Total Croatia News

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As we have previously reported, the new three-person management board, led by David Sopta, a former assistant to the Foreign Minister, will take the helm of Jadrolinija.

David Sopta is officially the new president of the Jadrolinija Management Board, reports, on September 4, 2017.

At the session of the Croatian Government, unofficial information was confirmed that David Sopta, director of the Real Group for International Affairs, will be succeeded by Alan Klanac at the helm of the largest Croatian shipping company. Predrag Govorčin from the Adriatic Shipbrokers company, and Ante Vranješ, group leader at the Rijeka branch of the BKS Bank, were also appointed as members of the Management Board. This decision terminates the mandate of the entire current management of Jadrolinija, which was comprised of Alan Klanac, Marko Čičin Šain, who was in charge of financial, commercial and general affairs, and Miljenko Antić, who was responsible for technical and operational affairs. Thus, a three and a half month long tender for the selection of Jadrolinija’s Management has ended, for which around twenty candidates applied, reports Novi List.

The positive thing concerning this decision was that an important personnel issue was finally resolved, ending the unnecessarily prolonged situation in which the existing management waited for its possible termination for months. The biggest drawback of the decision is certainly the fact that the new management team of the largest Croatian shipping company has almost no relevant work experience in shipping and maritime affairs. Unfortunately, the requirements of the tender did not state this as a necessary condition, so it is indisputable that all the newly elected managers have been legitimately chosen, as they all fulfil all of the [other] requirements.

End of continuity

One of the requirements was, among other things, a university degree, i.e. the finishing of a graduate university or a specialist study program in the area of transport and traffic technology, shipbuilding, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or economics, or a finished graduate university study program from the field of law. David Sopta has a mechanical engineering degree obtained at the Faculty of Engineering in Rijeka and spent most of his career in insurance companies, and for about two years he was an Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs. Now he has been given the opportunity to show that he can run the Jadrolinija company well, a company which has an immense responsibility to provide a high-quality connection between the Croatian mainland and the islands.

It is interesting to note that the option of management continuity was not selected as it was for the last couple of decades, which is sort of a precedent. The link between all the managements headed by Slavko Lončar and Alan Klanac was Miljenko Antić, who was not confirmed this time even though he applied for the position, as well as Marko Čičin Šain. These changes in the management board are drastic and it remains to be seen whether Alan Klanac, Marko Čičin Šain and Miljenko Antić will remain within the company in some other position which might be offered to them, or if they will leave the company for good.


Visible progress

When it comes to the work done during the four years and four months of the mandate of Alan Klanac, it cannot be disputed that certain positive steps in the company’s business have been achieved, especially in regard to tickets being purchased online, which, considering the nature of the company’s business, should have been introduced a lot earlier. The fleet has been rejuvenated by 4 new ships, however; there is still a lingering impression that much more could have been done concerning this issue.

A very important document might be of great significance for the future of the company – a business strategy, worth EUR 281 million, for the period up to 2027, where an ambitious goal of procuring 26 vessels, including 23 new ships, is stated. It remains to be seen whether or not the new administration will adhere to that plan or if it will be changed.

A positive legacy left behind the old management is the fact that Jadrolinija did not have any competition on tenders of the most profitable lines, which offers a good prospect of keeping all the lines, even after the liberalisation of the market. The biggest flaw of the management led by Klanac were the strained relations with trade union representatives, as well as the difficulty in signing a collective agreement.

Regardless of everything mentioned, it is certain that the political criteria for selecting the Jadrolinija management members was crucial, which is why there is a great responsibility for the Minister of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, who will have to set up precise and predefined targets for the new management so that the efficiency and success of the work of the new Management Board led by David Sopta can be controlled more effectively.

Following yesterday’s [September 3] decision and the recommendation made by the Government, a session of the new Management Board of Jadrolinija should be held next week, where the nomination will be formally confirmed.


Translated from


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