Matija’s story: Finding the good life

I first started thinking about Coca‑Cola as an employer when I was young and living in Zagreb. There was a huge bottle sign on a building along my commute, and I always told my parents I would work for a company like that.

Then I went to get my degree in Chicago, and Coca‑Cola was one of those brands that always got brought up in my business classes.

I actually got the chance to attend university in the U.S. because I was recruited as a top tennis player. I started playing when I was 7 years old, and by the time I was 17 I was playing professionally. Back then, I had to make a choice between focusing on a professional career or putting 100% of my effort into a tennis career. My tennis rank in Croatia was maybe 4th or 5th, and there was no guarantee of success. I discussed with my parents, who are both well educated, and I made the decision to go for university, where I could play tennis but focus more on my education and future career opportunities.

I had a lot of fun in Chicago, but I realised that the tennis life was not for me. My attention was turning to business opportunities. I also missed the culture of Croatia. We work hard in Croatia, but in our way of life we have a lot more emphasis on social and family interactions.

One of my former colleagues from another company actually brought my attention to the opportunity to apply for the Management Trainee program at Coca‑Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC). Naturally, I jumped at the chance. It was very competitive with 800 people applying and only 4 getting accepted, but in the end I got the call, and it’s been amazing.

When I first joined I was a bit worried that I would be just another headcount at a big corporation, and that I could be replaced immediately if I didn’t perform. But that’s not the case at CCHBC.


The people are really great and caring, and they drive the atmosphere of the business. There is a lot of emphasis on being a family.

Matija Palinić Sales Supervisor and former Management Trainee (Sales), Croatia

Winning, losing, learning, everything happens together. That’s one of the first things I experienced in the company. From entry level to middle management, all the way to the top leaders, we all have to be synchronised to achieve what we do, and we are that way. Each of us works with people from all over the business, and we learn and grow together. The everyday experience on the job, meeting and communicating with so many different people and personalities, really strengthens your people skills and negotiation skills. That’s something that is certainly going to help me in the future.

Another thing I love about CCHBC is the real passion to be the best. We’re striving every day to be better. We’re always striving for excellence and for employees to do their best, but we’re also working hard to showcase our care for people, the environment, and the country. We’re developing and adapting our products to include and satisfy different consumer needs, we’re helping underdeveloped cities in Croatia recover from hardships after the war with a range of social projects like opening new gyms and donating blood, and we as employees get recognised internally for the work we do.

Because of that mind-set, we’re the best in what we do.

I’m very proud to work here at CCHBC. I’m proud to be directly involved in the business and helping to build a better organisation. I’m proud that my team and I are getting the recognition and reward for all the great things we do. And I’m proud of my journey so far, working my way up from an entry level position to a manager role. What’s not to like? I work for the best brand in the industry, I actively help it to be better, and I get recognised and appreciated for the work I do.


So, bring your uniqueness, join our team and RISE!