The CEO Who Cut His Salary to Save the Company

December 2021 Business

Haris Buljubasic


Have you ever heard of a public company boss who cut his own salary while rising the pay of non-qualified workers?

Naser Rujanac, from the city of Donji Vakuf in Bosnia and Herzegovina, did exactly that while fighting to save a public utility company from closing down during the pandemic. In a country where many see a job in the public sector as a good source of private money, stability, and comfort, Naser forged a plan and saved the company, alongside the jobs of his employees.

„I think that the salary of the former director was too high, considering the condition of the company“, says Naser, who became the acting head of the company Gradina in July 2021. He found a company burdened with huge debts to the tax authority and had to act promptly to make sure company is up and running.

Motivating the most hard-working ones

Naser faced a company in dire straits. Bank accounts were blocked, and the company could not even secure gas although it was crucial for running machinery. First, he drew up a debt reduction plan and reached an agreement with the tax authority on the repayment schedule. But he also needed to keep his workers motivated, so he managed to secure them and pay rise.

„These are workers who work in all weather conditions. The company depends on their contribution, and we should appreciate that. There was too big a difference between the salaries of the company’s management and non-qualified workers“, Naser told The Adriatic.

The new boss also managed to find a way to settle the company’s old debt the employees. It required many cuts, he says, starting with small ones like cutting the business phone allowance.

“Eventually, every effort and sacrifice for the benefit of the community pays off many times over.”

Many in this country dream of a position like Naser’s. Jobs in the public sectors are seen as a good and a secure source of decent money. However, Naser insists that a public job means a chance to do something good for the local community.

He is well-known in the local community which has elected him a few times to municipal council. At first, Naser was member of the SBB political party (Union for a Better Future of Bosnia and Herzegovina), but later become an independent candidate. Having already worked in the company he is heading now, he knew very well what the problems were.

Will the hard work pay off?

Just like with many other public companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Naser is only an acting director. Whether or not he will be reappointed for a full four-year term, will be decided in January 2022. But he already has the support of the workers’ union which has recognized his efforts so far.

Naser is confident about achieving his goals. He said: “I could easily achieve the set goals. Unforeseen situations do happen, but with good organization, we will succeed.” In two months, Naser would know for sure.