Flashback to 13 September 2018 as Severino Pušić chats with Martin Moodie after the Grand Opening of The SEVA Group’s first duty free store. The border shop in Metković, Croatia is less than 200 metres from the road crossing into Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Severino Pušić, Founder and Chairman of distributor and travel retailer The SEVA Group, has quietly built an international success story over the past quarter century, writes Martin Moodie.

Created in 1997 as a local market distributor in the Balkans specialising in tobacco and alcohol products, the group has grown into a powerful domestic market and travel retail channel logistics and brand partner to a host of renowned brands across categories and geographies. The company also owns the acclaimed Rubis winery in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The publicity-shy Pušić prefers to let his actions – and his people – do the talking. But I managed to catch up with him at October’s TFWA World Exhibition for this rare interview filmed by Peter Marshall of Marshall Arts International and TRunblocked.

I once described him as ‘travel retail’s low-profile, high achiever’ and that remains pretty much right on the money when describing Severino Pušić, the mastermind behind The SEVA Group’s impressive quarter-century rise from regional distributor to multi-national logistics, distribution and retail powerhouse.

Low-profile is exactly how he wishes to keep it too, especially since a decision to step back from frontline involvement in 2019 and let his senior management drive the company to the next stage.

In this video interview conducted at the new-look group stand at the recent TFWA World Exhibition – only the third he has conducted down the years, all with this publication – Pušić reveals the overriding principles that most drive him and the company in business. Trust and respect.

“In general in life… if there is no trust, there is no base for anything else. If we do not respect each other, there is nothing we can do with each other,” he says. “These are the most important values. These come from private life and obviously you then just roll them out for your business life.”

Balance in life is also important to Pušić, based in Roermond, The Netherlands. A strong family man with three children (two daughters and a son), the need for balance was reflected in his 2019 decision to step back from the day to day business as he explains in the film interview.

{Click on the YouTube icon to watch the entire interview}

“So the Board of Directors have taken charge and the lead and responsibility for daily business from me. The only moment that I came back briefly was obviously during COVID, especially in the beginning, to make a few decisions, which I did. So it’s not really up to me any more how far we will go. My vision is clear and we all share that vision.

(Left to right) Roger Jackson, Laura Klingeman and Natalie Jackson are driving The SEVA Group’s fortunes in travel retail

“But the dynamic of growing the business is not in my hands anymore. Obviously I will facilitate whatever is needed. But when we talk about global travel retail, Roger Jackson (Managing Director, SEVA-led Organico Solutions in Dubai); Laura Klingeman (Managing Director, SEVA IBP, Duty Free and Travel Retail); and Natalie Jackson (General Manager at Organico Travel Retail) are the key people within the group to make good decisions.” ✈

The Rubis winery in Bosnia and Herzegovina holds a special place in Severino Pušić’s heart

Click on the image to read more about The SEVA Group

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