Željko Kukurin, Ph. D. was born in 1974 in Zagreb. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics and Business in Zagreb where he received his Master of Science degree in Marketing. In 2010 he received his EMBA degree in International Management from the Bocconi University in Milan in 2010. In 2020, he received his Doctor of Economics degree at the Faculty of Economics and Business in Pula on the topic Profitability of Investments in the Hospitality Industry.
In 2000 he began his career as an intern at Riviera Poreč, a member of Valamar Group. From 2003 to 2009, he held various managing positions in Sales and Marketing, and he was responsible for developing several strategic projects within the group. From 2010 to 2014 he was the Management Board president at Istraturist d.d., owned by Zaba Unicredit Group and cooperated with Meliá Hotels International in managing the hospitality portfolio in Umag. After restructuring business operations and increasing enterprise value, in 2014 he participated in the EUR 120 million sale of the company.
In June 2015, Mr. Kukurin was appointed President of the Management Board of Valamar Riviera where he has led a strong development and investment cycle over the past 5 years, worth a total of HRK 4 billion. During this period Valamar Riviera’s portfolio has been repositioned towards higher quality products, expanded through acquisitions in Croatia and the first international acquisition in Austria, various strategic partnerships with pension funds have been established for joint investments in tourism, while enterprise value grew. Valamar Riviera is the best employer in tourism for the third consecutive year, and Mr. Kukurin was businessperson of the year in 2017.
He also serves as deputy Supervisory Board Chairman at Imperial Riviera d.d., and holds numerous important positions in Croatian tourism; he is chairman of the Hospitality and Tourism branch of the Croatian Employers’ Association, deputy chairman of the Croatian Tourism Association and member of the Croatian National Tourist Board Council and the Istrian Tourist Board Council. In addition, he is involved in various national professional associations.