Official photographs from the celebration can be viewed in the image GALERY.

President of the Republic of Croatia attended Metal Product’s celebration of 55 years since its foundation by Mr Stjepan Šafran.

Zagreb—The Metal Product company, founded by Mr Stjepan Šafran, who remains the sole shareholder of the company, marked its 55th anniversary on 4 October 2022. According to the data held on record by Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Metal Product is the oldest company in Croatia whose founder still actively takes parts in the company’s operations.

“We are very proud of the fact that what once started as a sole proprietorship in a small garage has now become a company with more than 250 employees, 15,000 m2 of production facilities and 85% of export-oriented production”, said Metal Product’s founder, Mr Stjepan Šafran.

Mr Šafran founded Metal Product in 1967, at the age of 22. The business operated under the name Šafran Workshop in a 35 m2 garage, in Yugoslavia, which was an unfavourable environment for privately-owned businesses. Despite all of that adversity, Mr Šafran has managed to create a very reputable company well known both in Croatia and Europe for its quality, innovation, reliability and customer service. Throughout the years, Metal Product has managed to successfully overcome all challenges and difficult times it has faced, such as two pandemics, several political regimes, the Homeland War and global crises. During the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Metal Product played a crucial role in the renewal of the electricity grid. Metal Product made a huge step forward after Croatia’s accession to the EU, when its long-standing business partners declared Metal Product their strategic partner and significantly broadened their cooperation. With major investments in increasing its capacities, adopting new technologies, as well as in digitalisation, automatization and robotisation of production processes over the course of the last 10 years, Metal Product has kept its operations stable and extremely competitive.

Apart from the day-to-day duties of running his own business, in the course of his career, Mr Stjepan Šafran has put in volunteering efforts into improving vocational education and having the sole proprietorship recognised as an important form of business in Croatian economy. He has actively contributed to the development of the sole proprietorship in Croatia and was one of the initiators of reinstating the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts in 1993. Mr Šafran served as the Chairman of the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts for two terms of office and served one term of office as the Chairman of its Executive Board.

Both Metal Product and Mr Šafran—as its sole shareholder and founder—have been awarded numerous national and international awards in the course of the last 55 years. Mr Šafran has received recognition from three presidents of the Republic of Croatia, with the latest and most significant one being the Charter of the Republic of Croatia, which he was awarded for his exceptional contribution to Croatian economy and his promotion in the country and across the globe. Moreover, the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts has awarded him with the Bronze kuna—the highest form of recognition of an individual by the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts—as well as the Golden kuna for his life’s work. The Austrian Federal Government Burgenland has also given him the high award for the contribution to better and more successful international cooperation between the peoples of Europe. Further to everything mentioned above, the president of Albania Ilir Meta has named Mr Šafran the honorary consul of the Republic of Albania in the Republic of Croatia and presented him with an award for special civic merit in assisting the Albanian diaspora in Croatia and promoting Croatian economic investments in Albania. In 2019, Mr Šafran was named the Best European Entrepreneur in 2019, after he had been nominated by the London Stock Exchange, which marked the pinnacle of his career.

“We wanted to mark this foundation jubilee with this gathering, to be able to thank all our business partners, and especially our strategic partners, with whom we have cooperated proudly for more than 30 continual years. We also wanted to thank everyone who has showed understanding for our growth and development and has supported us in that process” said Mr Šafran.

The new organisational structure—in force from late 2020 and introducing corporate governance in Metal Product—was also presented at the celebration. The new Management Board, comprised of Igor Vrdoljak, Barbara Vuković and Josip Tržec, and the Supervisory Board, comprised of Stjepan Šafran, Mladen Vedriš and Marko Delić, will together contribute to sustainable development and ensure Metal Product’s stability and future.

Apart from the President of the Republic of Croatia, Zoran Milanović, the ceremony was also attended by Stjepan Mesić, a former President of the Republic of Croatia; an envoy to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, Andrej Plenković, State Secretary of the Ministry of Economy, Mrs Nataša Mikuš Žigman; Franjo Gregurić, a former Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia; the Special Advisor to the President of the Republic of Croatia for Economy, Velibor Mačkić; an envoy of the mayor of the City of Zagreb, the head of the City Department for Economy, Environmental Sustainability and Strategic Planning, Mrs Tatjana Operta; His Excellency, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria, Josef Markus Wuketich; His Excellency, Ambassador of the Republic of Albania, Riza Poda; His Excellency, Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo, Martin Berishaj; Deputy Ambassador Johannes Leibetseder; Minister Plenipotentiary at the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia, Dušan Pšeničnik; the county prefect of the Međimurje County, Matija Posavec; Croatian Parliament MPs Siniša Jenkač and Mr Predrag Štromar; the prefect of the Breznički Hum municipality, Mr Zoran Hegedić, as well as Mrs Julie Deane, the founder and CEO of the leather company Cambridge Satchel Company and a member of the Advisory Board of Cambridge Judge Business School, who was also appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. CBE was awarded to Mrs Deane for her services to entrepreneurship and manufacturing. She has also won an award at the European Business Awards and is now a member of the jury. The ceremony was also attended by numerous representatives of economic associations, strategic partners, customers, suppliers and commercial banks.