The bank promotes achievement and competition, but always with humanity

Andrea Pavlovic moved from the civil service and academia to a senior position at PBZ, Intesa Sanpaolo’s Croatian subsidiary

Alastair Smart


Andrea Pavlovic is a member of the management board at Privredna Banka Zagreb (PBZ) – a subsidiary bank of Intesa Sanpaolo in Croatia – where she has worked since 1997. She also leads its Risk Management and Control Division. 

Tell us something about your working experiences so far

My first position was at the Institute of Economics in Zagreb, where principally I was researching and analysing market trends. While immersed in an academic institution such as that, I certainly didn’t foresee ending up in a bank. Next came two years in the Croatian national parliament, where I worked as a senior adviser to the State Budget committee, before the long PBZ chapter in my life began (already two decades and counting). I’d done my PhD in risk management, so it was a special moment in 2003 when I was named the bank’s executive director of risk management.

How does it feel to be an ambassador for the Intesa Sanpaolo group?

For me, it is very natural. A large reason for my spending so long in the one institution is because it has afforded me the chance to grow and feel professionally fulfilled. The values of Intesa Sanpaolo are a match for my personal values, too. To give a few examples, openness, diversity, respect and a healthy drive for success. By ‘healthy’, I mean that the bank promotes achievement and competition, but always with humanity. As an employee, that is appreciated. It’s not an easy balance for a bank to strike – between positive results and compassion – especially in the current climate, with the high expectations of regulators, shareholders and the like. But it’s a balance Intesa Sanpaolo achieves.

What do you like about Intesa Sanpaolo and its people?

I think it has a very impressive relationship with its clients. The lines of communication and dialogue are always open, and business proposals are more often than not a highly collaborative process between bank and client (rather than a simple case of money being lent).

Even for me, working in Croatia – away from the bank’s headquarters in Italy – there’s still a real understanding of the organisation’s ethos. Those at PBZ feel at the heart of what it’s doing, feel a true part of the Intesa Sanpaolo team, with regular contact and interaction.

Has the bank helped you progress in your career? And if so, how?

To achieve success, I believe an employer needs to recognise people with potential. And I was fortunate enough to be recognised, at an early stage, as someone with potential; in some institutions, it might have held me back being a woman, but not here. In such an environment, over time, I picked up greater knowledge and managerial skills. Multi-tasking and overcoming challenges are rewarded at Intesa Sanpaolo.     
Team spirit is also important, of course – and that works in various ways. For example, the bank recognises that you need people of different backgrounds and areas of expertise in high positions. As a board member, I know much about risk management but less about other areas of practice. It’s important to support your colleagues by pooling skills.

Where would you like to be in your career in five years?

That’s quite a difficult one to answer, when you think about how fast the financial world goes around. I’ve been on the PBZ management board for seven or eight years now, and I look forward to further challenges in the role. PBZ is a highly liquid and capitalised bank, with a base of more than 1.6 million customers, and the aim is to keep it at the absolute forefront of the region’s banking scene. 

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