In 1989 the wall between East and West Berlin came down and the Soviet Union collapsed. Hungary as part of the Soviet block had virtually been occupied by Russia for the previous 40 years.
In 1990 Hungary was economically weak and very quickly they saw their best opportunity for economic growth was to seek capital investment from the west. Coca-Cola Amatil Australia identified the potential of building their business and purchased the State-run Coca-Cola Franchises of Hungary & the Czech Republic in 1990. The operations in Hungary were in dire need of modernisation both in manufacturing & marketing. Jim Natt was asked to join a team from Australia with this mission and he worked in Budapest for 6 months in 1991/92. It was a time when Hungarians for the first time could buy products they had seen in magazines or movies. They queued for hours at the new Levi jeans store, or Nike trainers or big Macc. Natt was focused in the Human Resources area and involved the recruitment of new marketing teams and making some difficult changes for some employees. Communism had a low unemployment rate but very low productivity from their workers. Most Hungarians had a job but not necessarily a task. The talk is a personal story of Natt’s experiences working with Hungarians adjusting to a new way of life He grew to love the people and is proud to have a very small part in helping the country prosper today.
Jim has been in the soft drink industry all his working life spending 14 years managing the family business (Mackays Aerated Waters) and 28 years with Coca-Cola Perth in Marketing and Human Resources. In 1989 he retired to pursue other goals.
He was involved in some very Interesting projects including a few years on the organising team of the Variety Club Bash – a car rally around Western Australia – and, with David Tunley, helping to manage the York Winter Music Festival and the Terrace Proms.
In 1991 Coke approached him to go to Hungary as part of a group from Coca-Cola Amatil Australia to help grow the business they had just purchased there. Jim joined the team of Australians in Budapest whose mission was to bring the franchise up to western standards of marketing and production. His appointment was for two three month periods in 1991 and 1992 and he will describe his experiences in Hungary at that time and some of the changes that were taking place.
Kathryn Maingard – [email protected]
or 08 6488 2356
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