Diageo Celebrates 20 years in Budapest

Retail

Diageo, a leading company in the production and distribution of alcoholic beverages, has celebrated its 20th anniversary in Budapest with the opening of its new 11,000 sqm base at Green Court Offices in the Váci Corridor in District XIII.

The recently completed complex by the Brussels-based developer Codic consists of around 20,000 sqm of office space by the Hungarian firm DPI Design. In addition, the 275 apartment Green Court Residences, designed by Pesti Házak of Hungary, and Venta Group, of Austria, provides a residential component.

Green Court is located 300 meters from the Dózsa György metro station in what is defined as the inner area of the Váci Corridor business district, an area popular with SSCs due to its excellent public and road transport links and direct access to amenities.

Diageo describes itself as the global leader in the production and distribution of alcoholic beverages with a broad portfolio of spirits, beer, and wine. It has brands such as Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Buchanan’s and Windsor whiskeys, Smirnoff, Cîroc, and Ketel One vodkas, as well as Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray, and Guinness.

The company celebrated its anniversary and the opening of the new office with a reception hosted by András Wolf, chief chef at the New York Café and Gundel, with cuisine accompanied by what he described as appropriate Diageo products.

As has been the trend in recent years, Diageo’s office in Budapest has developed from a shared service center with around 50 employees to a more enhanced global role with 1,400 staff.

Main Goals

“The main goals of Diageo Budapest include market growth support, value creation and services, and business performance and efficiency increase,” explained Michael Holm, managing director for Diageo’s Eastern European business.

“As a result, presently, it is the Budapest office that controls the main financial processes for the European and North American markets and performs the treasury function as well. The company created the Global Business Operation, and the East European region of Diageo was formed with a center partly in Budapest. Additionally, the majority of centralized tax activity has also been taking place in Hungary since 2020,” he said.

“Here at Diageo, we recognize the issues society faces in the 21st century. As a result, under the Society 2030 program, we aim to help individuals globally to live in a more sustainable, equal, and safe world in the next 10 years,” Holm added.

“Moreover, we want to ensure that our colleagues have the best working environment possible, as, in the past 20 years, the Diageo Budapest team has expanded to 1,400 employees representing 57 different countries. The office provides around 2,000 flexible working points.”

The BREEAM “Excellent” certified Green Court Offices have several notable sustainable features, according to Diageo. Due to the rainwater harvesting system at Green Court Offices, 100% of the rain can be re-used, which potentially equates to 30,000 bottles of Johnnie Walker per day. Additionally, selective waste collection is greatly emphasized in the new, environmentally-friendly office.

Quality LED lighting design supports the goal of lowering the carbon emission footprint. LEDs have an expected lifespan of 50,000 hours, while a typical incandescent bulb lasts only about 1,000 hours. Built-in UV filters provide protection from infection in air handling units, and the role of the double-skin façade is important for acoustics as well as heating/cooling and energy conservation. In addition, there is a 3,300 sqm inner park in the office complex. Furthermore, the office has window surfaces of 7,000 sqm.

Hybrid Optimization

Considering the altered working environment of the past few years due to COVID, the office is optimized for hybrid working. The ratio of shared spaces and the number of devices for web conferences have grown, and parents are supported with a family-friendly zone where they can bring their children, according to Diageo.

“Besides sustainability, providing the ideal working environment is also extremely important for us. We believe in our responsibility to support the mental and physical health of our employees. Adjusting to the altered working habits due to the pandemic, we wanted to provide a new, modern office for our employees which they would gladly visit alongside the opportunity to work from home,” said Mónika Pais, CEO of Diageo Budapest.

The complex also provides a sky bar with a capacity of 300 people. The interior has been designed by the Perkins & Will of the United Kingdom and Hungary’s Viador Atrium.     

Pais explained that, as well as providing a treasury function, the office supports supply finance, data and technology, global HR, commercial and sales, financial planning and Eastern European hub roles.

“The main goals of Diageo Budapest include market growth support, value creation and services and business performance and efficiency increase,” she said.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of June 3, 2022.

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