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Konstantin Atanasov: Legal teams today are not only legal, but strategic business partners

The Legal Director at Coca-Cola HBC Bulgaria in a special interview for Manager NEWS

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Every employee at Coca-Cola HBC Bulgaria is encouraged to give ideas and implement new ways to optimize processes, Konstantin Atanasov, Legal director of the company told Manager NEWS. He joined the team in 2012 as a “Legal Affairs” expert, coming from Kremikovtsi JSC. Over the years he passed through positions with increasing responsibilities, and since 2016 he is head of the Legal Department of the company. He has a Master's degree in Law, graduated from Sofia University ‘St. Kliment Ohridski’ and completed a postgraduate course in Competition Law at King's College London. Among his personal passions are alpinism and participation in Bulgarian and international marathons.

To lead the Legal Department of a dynamic company like Coca-Cola sounds responsible. How do the company's legal needs change in the process of its development?

Businesses are becoming increasingly dynamic and complex. Our company's portfolio is constantly expanding. When I started in 2012 it covered carbonated drinks, juices, water and energy drinks. Then we started the distribution of premium spirits beverages, and in recent years we have built a strong 24/7 portfolio, adding the coffee category, with the distribution of Costa Coffee and Caffe Vergnano. In addition to adding value, the new categories also create more complexity, both in terms of internal processes and legal rules that must be followed.

On the other hand, a basic requirement for business success is that the processes are as simple as possible and that things happen quickly and easily. We strive to resolve this contradiction by using our view of the entire business to facilitate communication between departments and achieve simplified processes, documents and contracts, as well as regulatory compliance, without unnecessary administrative processes. In other words, we build the vision and strategy of the Legal Department not as a ‘cost center’ but as a ‘value generator’ for the business. Of course, we strive to add value not only in terms of time and effort saved to the company but also by looking for opportunities to improve its financial results. For example, we have recently developed an advanced process for managing our refrigeration equipment, which has allowed us to improve many times the return from the market when they are used in violation of the concluded agreements. In this way, they can be used more efficiently and bring more revenue to the company.

The entire interview with Konstantin Atanasov can be found here.

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