Written by: Monika Mudranincová
The commercial director of Xerox ČR was named the managing
director of the Czech branch, thus becoming the very first
Czech to lead the company during its 11-year presence on
the Czech market. He replaced Filiz Mit who was promoted
to the international level.
Photo: Petr Poliak
This diplomat and former Czech ambassador to the EU was appointed
the first Czech commissioner in the European Commission.
Telička, who was born in Washington and lived in Great Britain,
has already proven his capabilities during the initial negotiations
leading up to EU entry.
Photo: Věroslav Sixt
The former chief of the Plzeň concern Škoda Holding acquired
control over all the highest posts in the Czech electricity
giant ČEZ. Apart from becoming general director, he was also
named the chairman of the board of directors.
Former Finance Minister Ivo Svoboda was sentenced to five years
in prison for tunnelling Liberta, a baby pram manufacturer.
He is the first government official to be tried after the
revolution. His advisor Barbora Snopková was sentenced to
five and a half years.
The expelled deputy of ODS and currently no-party member admitted
that he has problems with alcohol. During the key voting
on the value-added tax law, he was again drunk, and absent
from the meeting. Somebody else voted on his card.
In February, the prime minister and his current government
received the lowest confidence rating of the past 12 months.
According to the Public Opinion Poll Center, only 26% of
Czech citizens trusted the Government in February, while
January's figure was 37%.
|Photo: Vladimír Weiss
Martin Grigar: Onward and upward
Martin Grigar (41), a director, co-owner, and chairman of the board
of the joint-stock company AutoCont CZ, is a brilliant example
of how to build a prosperous Czech firm from scratch in the highly
competitive IT environment, and then lead it to international
recognition. Last year the company's "Internet for Schools" project
was victorious in the Microsoft Certified Partners Awards, beating
competitors from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. According
to Jan Mühlfeit, Microsoft EMEA's vice president, AutoCont is
a global leader.
Grigar started out as a programmer for Tesla Brno, and in 1991
he helped found AutoCont, which currently employs over 600 people
and has main offices in Ostrava, Brno, and Prague, with sales branches
throughout the republic. What makes him proudest is that in the
last five years the company was able to change from a hardware
manufacturer into a firm that plays an important role in providing
services and solutions for all market segments. "At the end
of the day, the increase in revenues from services, from CZK 70
million in 1998 to CZK 540 million in 2003, says it all," he
says. The firm's key customers include Český Telecom, GE Capital
Bank, and VZP (General Health Insurance).
Grigar's colleagues see him as an able, flexible, and open person
who is driven forward by success. Like Jack Kerouac, he spends
a lot of time on the road - he travels 60,000 kilometers between
branches every year. He sometimes finds the time to squeeze in
bicycle riding, squash, and visits to the National Theater. This
collector of hippopotami (his favorite animal) and admirer of functionalism
has one wish that hasn't come true yet - one day he'd like to look
over all his favorite buildings, not in professional publications,
but in reality.
Martin Trnka: An official with
Martin Trnka (36) is Prague's "highest official." This
February he won a highly competitive tender and was named City
Hall director. He won out over the competition with the perspective
of a well experienced matador - he had worked in the corridors
of City Hall for ten years.
Fifteen days after his final examination at ČVUT (Czech Institute
of Technology), where he majored in water management and aquatic
construction, this newly minted engineer and ODS member began working
in City Hall, and he never left. For three years he was a water
management official, and then he spent three years as the head
of the water management department and three more years as the
deputy director of City Hall. "I rose from the bottom to the
top, and I know how my colleagues work and think and what needs
improving," says Trnka, who would like to rehabilitate the
word "official." As he explains: "in our society
it carries bad connotations, and I'd like to change that." For
example, he's planning a clear codification of how officials behave
towards citizens (which would include such indicators as an accomodating
approach, willingness, and speed) and officials' procedures, to
ensure that citizens are not unnecessarily encumbered by the bureaucracy.
He promises firm redress when work obligations are breached. "In
the future I want City Hall to set high standards for other offices
as well. It should be the best of all of them, but that isn't the
case yet," notes this boss of over 2,000 employees. In the
near future City Hall will undergo a personnel and functional audit,
which should lead to the simplification of processes and possible
The new director is a passionate reader of non-fiction and history,
and enjoys Celtic music and basketball. He spends his occasional
free weekends in his cottage in the Jizerské Mountains with his
family, which will soon have a new member - in July his one-year-old
son will have a brother or a sister.