Written by: Monika Mudranincová
Photo: Jan Vágner
This Italian entrepreneur reached CZK 492.8 million in 2002
net profit with his company Karlovarské minerální vody, which
is 75% growth compared with the previous year. Following
its huge success on the rapidly growing Czech market, the
firm plans to expand abroad.
The general director of Autopal-Visteon Nový Jičín is the first
Czech to receive the prestigious Dale Carnegie Leadership
Award, which is presented annually by the New York-based
consulting company Dale Carnegie & Associates Inc.
Photo: Jan Vágner
The general director of the central European branch of leading
corporate software developer Logica CMG announced that the
firm is transferring its central European center to the Czech
Republic. Expected investment should reach around CZK 100
This travel industry mogul took a business risk that put his
firm into debt of nearly half a billion crowns. Despite the
fact that he managed to avoid bankruptcy with the help of
a strategic investor, Atlantic FT, he lost the dominant position
in his own empire.
The ODS Senator faces suspicion of accepting a CZK 40 million
bribe in 1999 as a commission for arranging the sale of Severočeská
plynárenská and Severočeská energetika shares to a German
buyer. Novák is still denying the accusation.
The Information Minister let the semi-state-owned Český Telecom
pay for his five-star hotel accommodation during the Karlovy
Vary film festival. According to Transparency International,
this represented a clear conflict of interest.
|Photo: Vladimír Weiss
Gerard Ryan: Tearing down barriers,
"CALL ME GERARD," says this smiling thirty-nine year-old
Irishman, currently the general director of the Czech and Slovak
branches of GE Capital Bank. His subordinates call him by his first
name, he sometimes has lunch with rank-and-file employees, and
he likes to hear their opinion about how the company is doing.
He travels all around the republic visiting the branch offices
to get to know even the lowest levels of the financial colossus
that employs 2,400 people in the Czech Republic alone. His open
personal policy and the changes that began under his predecessor,
Petr Šmída, are bearing fruit - consider the ten prestigious awards
that the bank garnered over the course of six months. These include
the Employer of the Year 2003 (announced by Fincentrum), which
Ryan considers the crowning glory. "We try to make a good
environment. Our people work hard, but they are remunerated well,
they learn new skills, and their ideas are respected," he
says, explaining why the fourth largest bank in the country has
become a desirable destination for many college-trained specialists.
The economic results of the bank are equally impressive. During
the first half of 2003 the bank ended with a record 73% rise of
net profit compared to the previous year. However, it is not easy
to keep the dynamic pace. Ryan only smiles over the question related
to leisure time and explains that if he has any, he spends it solely
with his wife and three children. Ryan, who came to Prague from
GE Capital Bank UK claims to feel at home here. "We Irish
share the same sense of black humor with the Czechs. It helps us
survive situations where there isn't much to laugh about, as it
does for you," he says.
Michal Kačena: Creating his own image of success
MICHAL KAČENA (39) holds in his hands the fate of the so-called
family silver. As manager for corporate affairs at Plzeňský Prazdroj,
he is responsible for building the Plzeňský Prazdroj brand (Pilsner
Urquell). The second largest brewing concern in the world, SAB
Miller, which owns the brand, has declared it its flagship and
most important asset, for which it has big plans. By 2010 it wants
to turn it into one of the five largest beer names in the world.
And Kačena and his team will be there.
He is certainly no novice in the field of image-making. This nuclear
engineer by profession used to work in the first half of the 1990s
as a PR manager at ČEZ power company, which was then newly established.
He had to learn open communication on such topics such as the nuclear
power plant Temelín. After seven years he left to tobacco giant
Philip Morris and then ended up "near the beer".
His earlier efforts to build his team and programs for managing
the corporate brand have already paid off. A few months ago, Pilsner
Urquell won a corporate image competition organized by the Rhodos
association, represented by the GfK Praha agency, Ogilvy CID, and
the publisher Economia, for the third time. "I believe that
we won the award thanks to our systematic work and transformation
of the company over the last three years," says Kačena. "Such
awards are gratifying and provide our employees with motivation,
while for customers they serve as confirmation of high quality
and an assurance that their trust is properly directed," he
He does not have a lot of free time, but when he finds some he
likes to devote it to his family, friends and sports - skiing,
cycling or golf. "I have three women at home, wife and two
daughters, who take my mind off work and 'men' things. They care
about me and create a welcome background. For this I thank all
three of them," he says.