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LJUBLJANA — Zoran Janković was born on 1 January 1953 in the village of Saraorci in Smederevo, where he spent his childhood. Subsequently, his family moved to Ljubljana, where he first attended Poljane High School and then graduated successfully from Ljubljana University’s Faculty of Economics.
Zoran Janković’s professional career began before he had finished his studies in 1978 in the investment sector at the Slovenian Post Office. Between 1979 and 1984 he, as a sales manager, represented the Grič Zagreb business and was appointed as acting director of Mercator Investa in 1984, where he worked until 1988. Between 1988 and 1990 he was vice president of Emona SOZD and acting general manager of Emona VPS. In 1990, he founded the Electa company, of which he was director until 1997. In the autumn of that year, Zoran Janković was appointed CEO of retailer Mercator, which he successfully led until November 2005, when representatives of the largest shareholders released him from his duties with no fault attached on his part.
Almost exactly a year later, on 22 October 2006, with the support of a clear majority of the citizens of Ljubljana (62.99% of votes cast) he was elected Mayor of the capital of Slovenia in the first round, while his list also obtained majority support of the voters in the elections to Ljubljana City Council, with Zoran Janković’s List taking 23 of the 45 seats.
In addition to his current work on individual projects, Mayor Zoran Janković, with various colleagues from Mercator, has also reshaped the management team of the City of Ljubljana, and transformed the motivation of the city administration and its project focus.
As well as in his office on Mestni trg (City Square), the people of Ljubljana can come across him seven days a week anywhere, at the market, sports grounds, in nursery schools and on construction sites. His personal communication is still characterized by his broad smile and instantaneous perception of a problem, knowing how to listen to each application submitted, above all, how to solve multiple problems effectively, always for the benefit of the majority and never to the detriment of minorities.
His tolerance and multicultural awareness are confirmed by providing the conditions for the construction of the Islamic religious-cultural centre and the start of construction in Ljubljana of a Serbian Orthodox Church cultural and pastoral centre. Under the leadership of the current mayor the city has gained new impetus; above all, as a European capital with an adopted vision of spatial development to 2025, he has given Ljubljana back its sense of optimism in a future that is modern, but to the individual a friendly, well-kept and safe place.
In strong competition between global capitals (Vienna, Lisbon, St Petersburg, Riga, Guadalajara and Wellington), as its programme was the most persuasive, the UNESCO commission awarded Ljubljana the title of World Book Capital 2010. Ljubljana was 5th on Forbes magazine’s list of “Europe’s Most Idyllic Places To Live”, while Ljubljana won a Readers Digest magazine survey conducted to find the most honest city in the world. According to research data it is also the safest city in SE Europe.
As four years previously, on Sunday 10 October 2010, with a large majority of the votes cast (64.79%), Zoran Janković was elected Mayor of the capital of Slovenia in the first round for the second time. His list has majority support in the council elections, taking 25 of the 45 seats.
Zoran Janković has won as many as 13 top prizes and awards for his successful work in the field of economics:
- the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce’s award for outstanding economic achievement (2001);
- ‘Manager of the Year 2002’ from the Manager’s Association (2002);
- ‘Best Director of 2003’ awarded by Kapital magazine;
- ‘Foremost Manager’ awarded by Manager magazine, the Primus award for excellence in communication awarded by the Slovenian Public Relations Society, the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Manager’s Association (all in 2003),;
- ‘Director of 2004’ by Kapital magazine and ‘Foremost Director’ by Manager magazine and Kline & Partner (2004);
- ‘Director 2005’ by Kapital magazine and ‘Foremost Director’ researched by Kline & Partner (2005);
- ‘Best Director 2006’ from Kapital magazine and ‘Best Director’ as chosen by the readers of Nedeljski dnevnik newspaper;
- ‘Person of the Year’ in the field of politics (2006) and
- ‘the ‘Best manager’ award (2009) awarded by Direkcija for the selection of the best manager in Bosnia and Herzegovina, South East and Central Europe (in Sarajevo).
At the end of May 2008 French newspaper Libération, prior to the official start of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU, published a list of 36 individuals from the 27 EU member states that will shape tomorrow’s Europe. Among them there are politicians, business leaders, theatre and film directors, fashion designers, lawyers, commissioners of the EU and ministers, teachers, religious leaders, journalists, diplomats and just one mayor – Zoran Janković, Mayor of the City of Ljubljana. As noted in the pages of the Paris newspaper, Zoran Janković is a successful businessman, who was elected Mayor of Ljubljana in the first round of the 2006 election and embodies the Slovenian success story.
At the end of May 2011 Mayor of Ljubljana Zoran Janković was awarded a plaque to mark becoming an honorary citizen of the city of Chengdu in recognition of his work in strengthening further the traditionally good relations between the twinned cities of Ljubljana and Chengdu in China.
Alongside his successful business career, Zoran Janković is also the President of the Alumni Club of Ljubljana University’s Faculty of Economics.
In his private life Zoran Janković is also a great sports’ lover. He was President of the Slovenian Handball Association for eight years and the 2004 European Men’s Championship was organised under his leadership, in which the Slovenian team took the silver medal. In 2005 the Slovenian Handball Association awarded him the title of its first and only Honorary President. In his own words, handball remains one of his greatest loves.
Zoran Janković is married to Mija Janković and is the father of two adult sons, Damijan and Jure, as well as being the proud grandfather of Vall and Julia.