Powering Up Global Operations in Bratislava

While it’s very likely you’ve never heard of Clarios, you may use their car batteries or energy storage products on a daily basis.

The one-year-old company is nurtured in tradition, hungry for talent and driven by the ambition to put Bratislava on the world map. We spoke with Juraj Barus, Global Director of Clarios Finance Shared Service Centers, about the company’s constant evolvement.

Why doesn’t your brand sound familiar in the shared services family?

We are the new kids on the block. Well, not entirely new. We started out under the auspices of Johnson Controls in 2011 as the automotive battery division and later moved to new headquarters on Pribinova street in Bratislava. Exactly one year ago we unbundled and became an independent brand, but we still share the same building near Eurovea and, of course, we occupy the better parts of it. We just leased out one more floor, so that indicates our operation is growing in spite of the COVID-19 crisis and upcoming economic turmoil. Most of our workforce is also inherited from the most experienced ranks in Johnson Controls, and that is not the only reason why we feel a special sentiment here. We are proud to have 130 years of technological excellence circulating in our veins and we definitely want to build on this heritage.

Do you mean by sticking to the innovations of your product line?

Sure, that’s one part of it. We are proud of what we do at Clarios. Our product is the exact answer to the challenges we face today – through environmentally friendly technologies and the upcoming wave of electric vehicles we can survive the crisis. Clarios creates the most advanced battery technologies for virtually every type of vehicle. We are a global leader in energy storage solutions, powering one in three cars in the world. BMW, Toyota, Ford, and Daimler are just a fraction of the brands we deliver to.

Here comes the kicker: Almost 80 percent of our batteries are produced from recycled materials, and we can recycle a further 99 percent of every piece that has left our plant. So, our batteries are innovative and sustainable. In 2019 we recycled 8000 batteries per hour and our production cycle reduced greenhouse emissions by 90 percent. If you are asking big businesses to be carbon neutral, we are already delivering it for the planet. Still, not everybody is familiar with Clarios, but our product families are widely recognised, such as Varta, Optima, Mac, Delkor, LTH and Heliar.

But batteries are not produced here in Bratislava.

No, they are not. Our business partner organisation here in Bratislava cooperates with 56 production, recycling and distribution centres worldwide, and over 16 000 members of the global Clarios family. In fact, our business centre is becoming the first real hub operating from Bratislava on a global scale. People in our offices are managing global projects on other continents so this level of responsibility makes us unique on the Slovak market. Our global and regional roles include finance, IT, accounting, tax, procurement and others. There are not many other places in Central Europe where you can shape and design some global processes. To make things even more exciting, we are evolving from a standard shared service centre into a knowledge-based business partner organisation, sweeping away the boundaries between the business and shared service centres of yesterday.

Well, that requires an exceptionally skilled and gifted workforce.

We are aiming for nothing less than that. We have to. Our responsibility must be matched with the ambition of those who want to walk the extra mile. Talent is always welcome in our premises; we promise to keep it and nurture it. Our team recently developed its own Clarios Finance Academy that provides additional training for obtaining standard certifications like ACCA and a bundle of communication and soft skills trainings. The training package our team members get is extremely generous compared to other businesses. I am not bragging about it; this is just a fair deal for anyone who wants to grow and taste our philosophy.

So, are you hiring? What is your goal?

Yes, we are talking about 80 more positions on site. We currently have around 200. We are looking for top professionals, from IT architects to senior financial roles, all of whom can deal with global challenges. Apart from a rich variety of trainings, we maintain the high standard of our offices through modern catering and day-care services, a good work-life balance and our adaptation to the new normal after the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that people need to enjoy their families, so we allow them to work from home when necessary. We care about every detail of their wellbeing. Our building is new, but we are upgrading our offices to create a modern space for friendly conversations and collaborations as our team members are slowly coming back after lockdown. We want to stay positive. Crises will strike, we know that, but our products are stable and sustainable, so we are not scaling back.

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