Franz Kafka, “The Trial”
The reason for my writing is the realization that Tomislav Đorđević has been in detention for over seven months already, for allegedly breaching the privatization contract of Ribarsko Gazdinstvo Beograd, i.e. selling real estate before the allowed term. I believe that the proceedings in this matter can be quickly completed and that there are deeper reasons for such a long detention, of which I will talk later.
I joined Meridian Bank on 15 April 2002 at the position of branch manager of the Valjevo branch. From 01 June 2006 to 01 April 2007 I performed the duties of the regional branch manager. The remaining time up until the cordial termination of employment on 13 July 2007, at by then Credit Agricole Bank from France, I spent as personal banker at the Lazarevac branch.
My admission at Meridian Bank was preceded by inquiries about me through the businessmen of Valjevo, the Valjevo Chamber of Commerce and also a check with the Ministry of Interior in Valjevo. Regardless of the fact that I had enormous experience from Krušik, Srbijanka, the Municipality, Rudnap, Valjevska Bank, it goes to show that the owner of Meridian Bank sought an honorable man in addition to other qualities.
The core of Meridian Bank was also made up of close friends who Tomislav Đorđević had worked with for many years and had unreserved trust in them. These were people who were all experts in their different fields and had, led by Tomislav Đorđević, had to contribute to the rapid development of the Bank. The key note to all the Bank’s activities was provided by Tomislav Đorđević. As someone who had worked abroad for many years he introduced new technologies, and a new approach in the realization of the Bank’s aims, human resources and primarily in IT.
He was always pointing out that the most important thing for the Bank is the customer and that the Bank in its dealing with the client must respect the legal provisions and own procedures. The customer could never be deceived nor were the Bank’s employees allowed to improvise.
In order to implement rapid development and expansion of the Bank’s branches through the introduction of European trends, he pursued continuous staff education and employment of promising young people who would first have to pass internal tests. He sought great loyalty to the Bank, like a family, so that we would socialize between ourselves and help each other by exchanging experiences.
Each branch was tracked according to the methodology developed by the Managing Director Zlatica Nikačević, and in accordance with it ranked and compensated. My branch quickly became the sixth in Serbia, while I personally received a pay rise six times in one year.
The great success of the Bank was not without consequences, several times over an extended period the Bank was subject to control of the inspection of the National Bank of Serbia (NBS). On one occasion, Tomislav Đorđević told me personally that he had issues running the business under the previous regime.
He came to Valjevo several times and left a remarkable impression on the entrepreneurs and owners of large companies. He was respected by his associates because of his quick decision making, motivation, energy, and fair treatment of the employees. He respected the opinion of his associates – I was personally asked regarding the opening of branches in Ub, Bogatic and Šabac, and also in relation to a number of new moves that were to be introduced in the Bank. Meridian Bank was the first to introduce the personal banker position, functionally the best trained and most operational employee.
Following orders from headquarters, I was personally present at the dismissal of one manager for theft, and another one for conduct that is unbecoming of a branch manager.
I believe that the essence of keeping Tomislav Đorđević in custody is quite different from the offense committed. I am familiar that after the sale of the Bank he embarked on a venture in fish farming, processing and exporting by acquiring DTD Ribarstvo. The complete plant for production of fish feed was purchased in China and set up in Bački Jarak. Ribarstvo Beograd was acquired with the same aim.
It is clear to all that there are split interest spheres in Serbia, and that the business activity that Tomislav Đorđević is in perhaps ought to be someone else’s domain. So in this way the man is to be eliminated from business, declared a criminal, his international business relationships interrupted and the company brought to the brink of collapse.
I read in the news this morning that the prosecution offered Svetlana Ražnjatović a small prison penalty and a large monetary fine. I propose the same is done for Tomislav Đorđević, if found guilty.
Personally I am glad to have worked with Tomislav Đorđević, and enriched my knowledge in the sphere of banking.
‘02-’06 Meridian Bank Valjevo Branch Manager
’06-’07 Meridian Bank Regional Branch Manager
‘07-’07 Meridian Bank Lazarevac Branch Personal Banker
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Next: Igor Kizur
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