“At JTI, we always say that we hire for attitude and train for skills. I like to think that my attitude has meant I am keen to learn, open to opportunities, and a good team player.”

It is a journey that began 17 years ago in Yelets, a small town 400 km outside Moscow. After a teacher noticed his talent for English and urged him to find a multinational company to work for, Kostya asked family and friends to help him make some connections. Eventually someone introduced him to the head of HR at a local tobacco factory, which had just been bought by JTI.

Starting out as a junior assistant in the HR department, Kostya’s, attitude and eagerness to learn quickly got him noticed. Within a year he had been promoted to work in the commercial team, and just one year after that, he was offered the position of Head of Manufacturing Services.

A big step up

The job offer came as a surprise to him: “This was a huge responsibility – I was only 24 at the time, and many of the people working for me were twice my age. This was still the early years after Soviet-era, and this kind of career progression was unheard of. So I learned a valuable lesson at a young age: that hard work and the right attitude would pay off. And when a great opportunity comes up, just say yes. I have never stopped since.”

Leading a large team at a young age meant that Kostya had to be open to new ideas and suggestions, learning from his experienced team members as well as developing his own skills and knowledge. Soon, a new challenge was presented to him when JTI acquired Gallaher.

“Gallaher had a factory in Cherkassy, Ukraine. We needed a team to help the whole Gallaher business in the Ukraine transition to the JTI way of working. I was offered the opportunity to help with this and I immediately said yes. This has been a theme of my career – many great opportunities have come my way, and I have never turned down a challenge.”

Kostya

"We have four factories in Russia, each one specializing in different aspects of the manufacturing process. I have been lucky enough to work in three of them – so far. I have worked with some wonderful people and learned a lot from them."

Kostya, Head of Manufacturing Services

 

A complex machine

After a period of time in Kiev, he was offered the chance to return to Russia to lead logistics in our Petro factory, in St Petersburg. Again, he leapt at the chance.

“Manufacturing and logistics require precise planning and forecasting. Even the process of measuring and analyzing the demand, then planning how you are going to supply that demand, is a complicated machine in itself.

“It takes many people and is a journey that starts with the sales people in the field analyzing how much product is needed, to the purchase and manufacture of the raw materials, to the finished goods being shipped out of the factory to warehouses, distributors and customers. It is important to work well as a team with the people around you. This team work is the best part of the job.”

His experience in manufacturing and logistics earned him an assignment in JTI’s global head office, in Geneva, on a project to optimize the process of transporting raw materials to JTI factories and warehouses around the world.

Taking opportunities

Following his Geneva assignment, Kostya returned to Russia for a promotion to the position as Head of Manufacturing at Liggett-Ducat in Moscow.

“We have four factories in Russia, each one specializing in different aspects of the manufacturing process. I have been lucky enough to work in three of them – so far. I have worked with some wonderful people and learned a lot from them.”

So what career advice does Kostya have to offer?

“When opportunities come up, you should take them with both hands. Sometimes opportunities are disguised as challenges. But anything that pushes you and gives you a chance to grow and develop can only be a good thing.”

“At JTI, we always say that we hire for attitude and train for skills. Having the right attitude means you being keen to learn, open to opportunities, and being a good team player. These are the things that companies look for, and these are the things that will help you to progress in your career. And my best advice: say yes to the opportunities that come your way. You never know where your journey will take you next.”

Global Top Employer three years in a row

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nationalities represented on our Executive Committee