Rastko Nicić is Head of the Retail Divison at UniCredit Bank Serbia in Belgrade. He loves to take morning bike rides along Belgrade’s two rivers, and to play the guitar in his spare time with the band he and other colleagues started at the Bank. At work, what he appreciates most is honest feedback and concrete results.

2:00 min

Who are you, when did you join UniCredit and what do you do?

I have a degree in economics, but I’ve been in love with music from childhood. Somehow, I was able to convince myself that music could help me with maths, so I did all the mathematics, statistics and accounting exams. I joined UniCredit Bank Serbia back in 2005 and now in my 16th year in the Group I lead the Retail Division. Moving around the Bank in different divisions, like Risk and Global Banking Services, gave me quite a good overview and wide perspective of the Bank’s business. I now consider myself a “Banker”!


Can you describe your ideal workday? 

My ideal workday starts very early, at about 5:40am, when I take an hour-long bike ride (25km) and still have time to come back home before my kids wake up. Usually I turn on the computer at 8am, or slightly before, depending on my meeting schedule. Before COVID-19, preparing for work and going to the office was my morning routine, which I miss a bit, but I still kept some of those parts of my routine to keep me motivated and mentally prepared for the day’s tasks. Even during my bike ride, I am usually thinking about daily tasks, ideas, and possibilities.  

How the rest of the day plays out depends on whether I am going on branch visits or staying in the office/home. If I stay in Belgrade, usually I would have a full day of meetings. Some of them are purely status updates to support the team, some meetings are brainstorming sessions, and some of them are for strategic planning and forecasting.  If I go on branch visits with the Head of Sales, we leave Belgrade at 8am, and try to visit at least two branches. That means getting back to Belgrade around 8pm. Our goal is to get honest feedback and a realistic overview of our business.  I would consider that day successful if we come back with new ideas from meetings, and some concrete results. 


What do you eat at lunchtime normally?

It depends. If we visit branches, I hardly have time to eat. Just a quick snack or a salad is good enough. During regular days, I try to have three solid meals.  I have to admit that sometimes I skip some meals, but I am really trying to be careful about this. I love food that is varied and consists of proteins, carbs, fat and fibre. 


Can you share an insider-anecdote on a funny moment you’ve experienced at work? 

Since we spend so much time together on the job, there are a lot of funny moments.  We usually try to create a positive atmosphere when we are brainstorming or even budgeting. For example, during a meeting when we were talking about volumes, some of the team had not understood whether we were speaking about euros or Serbian dinars.   Since dinar figures are definitely higher, the same number in euros would be very ambitious. Words cannot explain the level of relief that spread around the room when we clarified that we were talking about euros, and although that number was still very ambitious, the team definitely had an easier time accepting it.


Are you a morning or evening person?

I am definitely a morning person. I function better, new ideas come easier, my mind is fresh and fully focused.


What is your morning ritual before going to work? 

My morning bike ride is one of the best motivating physical and psychological activities I can think of.


Favourite time of the day?

Definitely morning, following sunrise at Belgrade’s two rivers and the Ada lake. Musical events are usually held at night however, so in that case, I prefer evenings. Also, I don’t believe in separating work and leisure time – everything we do is part of our life and ourselves. That’s why I started a band at the Bank! 


Do you have a hobby? (if yes, please elaborate)

The guitar is definitely my primary hobby. The excitement of learning a new song, trying to improve my technical skills and a never-ending story of musical theory will last my entire life. As music is a hobby, I can play with no pressure and purely for pleasure.