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Success stories - Yurii Kurta

Yurii Kurta, General Manager, Imperial Tobacco Bulgaria and Romania (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Yurii Kurta started his career in Imperial Tobacco in 2000 as a Junior Manager for Local Trademarks in the Marketing Department in Ukraine. In five years of his work, Yurii achieved the position of Marketing Director of Imperial Tobacco Ukraine, and in 2009 he was invited to the Central Marketing ITG and went to work in France where he headed the International Brands Group Gitanes / R1. After eighteen months of work in France, Yurii was offered a position as the head of the Company Representative Office in Armenia, and in spring 2011 he became the General Manager of Imperial Tobacco in this country.

Yurii, in your opinion, what are the main conditions for international career development in our company?

I believe the main thing is a desire to build your international career and develop. Without the desire and goal, you will never start doing anything. And without professional development and achievements, no one will need you.

From your experience, what are the potential advantages and opportunities open through an international career for an ITG employee?

First, there is the unique experience of participating in global projects aimed at revealing the company’s potential. Second, being a true international company, Imperial Tobacco is present in more than 160 countries and thus there is an opportunity to learn not only how people work in different markets but also how people live in different markets. Third, there is an opportunity for global networking, which means the development of your own social international network of colleagues and friends.

What was the most interesting and the valuable thing for you during your work in France?

From the point of view of professional experience, everything was interesting. That includes strategic work with international brands, participating in a project on the development of innovative product concepts, and work with international agencies. This international appointment gave me a chance to look at ordinary things from another “global” point of view, learn about the key processes that influence the work of all markets, and work with my colleagues from various central functions and from many countries.

What are your main tasks as General Manager in Armenia?

My principal responsibilities include the development and implementation of a strategy of the further growth of Imperial Tobacco in the Armenian market, development of a successful partnership with the exclusive distributor, team development and motivation, and introduction of the international standards of Imperial Tobacco.

Can you describe the Armenian tobacco market?

Actually, the tobacco market is rather stable with annual consumption of 4.5 billion cigarettes. Over the last year, the market share of Imperial Tobacco increased to 11.5%, which made us second among international manufacturers and allowed Davidoff to take first place in the premium segment. Interestingly, the tobacco market in Armenia is one of the most slim-oriented in the world, with the share of all slim formats at nearly 70%. 

You had a chance to live in several countries for a short time. How did you start your life in a foreign country among people you did not know?

I am quite adaptable and I therefore begin feeling at ease in a foreign environment rather quickly. Besides, my desire to constantly learn something new has always facilitated the establishment of contacts with new colleagues and acquaintances.

How did your personality change during your work abroad?

Being away from the homeland and friends to some extent makes you more confident and open to communication. I also became more tolerant to human differences, including cultural ones.