UP&DOWN



PEOPLE UP

Jacquot Boelen
Photo archiv
Jacquot Boelen
Under his leadership, the retailer Ahold is strengthening its status in central Europe, adding 67 Julius Meinl stores to its 300 Czech shops. Ahold’s turnover in central Europe in 2004 was EUR 1.68 billion.
Tomáš Chalupa
Photo Tomáš Kubeš
Tomáš Chalupa
The mayor of Prague 6 recently opened the completely reconstructed sports center Ladronka, which has no equal in the capital. The complex has a 3.5 km-long track for inline skating and bicycles, as well as many other facilities for exercise and relaxation. Admission is free.
Roland Mahler
Photo archiv
Roland Mahler
The general director of T-Mobile in the Czech Republic can boast, as his firm moved ahead of the former number one on the market, Eurotel. T-Mobile’s customers are currently using 4.46 million SIM cards, and 99% of the Czech population is covered by the operator’s signal.

PEOPLE DOWN

Martin Dvořák
Photo ČTK
Martin Dvořák
The general director of Triatlon Praha and promoter of Grand Prague Award for cycling invited the world’s leading riders to the Czech Republic to start this contest. However, the racers withdrew from the event as Dvořák did not pay them the starting fees.
František Bublan
Photo ČTK
František Bublan
The minister of interior came under strong criticism after the police attack that he ordered against the CzechTek music festival. The brutal action induced many demonstrations, and Bublan was forced to conduct an investigation into the incident.
Vítězslav Jandák
Photo www.isifa.com
Vítězslav Jandák
The media revealed that the Lvíče foundation, which minister of culture Jandák used to manage, was sponsored by the Casino Royal, an operation allegedly connected to the Israeli mafia. Proceeds gained by the foundation were used to finance such activities as the film festival in Zlín.

 

Jan Bárta
Photo: tomáš kubeš

Jan Červinka: Aiming at the stars
AD ASTRA means “to the stars”, and that, with a little exaggeration, is the direction the ambitions of Adastra Corporation, a software firm that provides data bank and business intelligence solutions, have taken. Adastra was founded and is run by Jan Červinka (36), a graduate of the ČVUT (Czech Institute of Technology) electrical technology department. This Czech company, which was established 11 years ago, can boast of its success in the international arena as well – it has branches in Bratislava, Ostrava, Frankfurt, and Toronto, Canada. But its general director acknowledges that penetrating foreign markets wasn’t easy. “It was a battle,” he laughs. “We got into great risks and large investments, and we’re just a little David compared with the Goliaths of the field.” Modesty is appropriate only to a certain degree – Adastra already has over a hundred successful projects to its credit. Its clients include Contactel, Ahold, and the Bank of Montreal, and this year it expects revenues exceeding half a billion crowns.
Personally, Červinka comes across as very professional, youthful, and friendly, and the firm, which already has 300 employees, exudes the same atmosphere. “A great group has come together here, the tops in their field,” says the boss. “I’m always learning something from them,” he adds, but also admits that Adastra’s success has come through mistakes that he wouldn’t repeat. “My credo is not to lie to myself, to just evaluate a situation realistically and proceed from there,” claims this competitive squash player, who has accomplished a lot for a person his age. The father of two sons and a daughter, he placed among the five finalists in the “Entrepreneur of the Year 2004″ contest, which was organized by Ernst & Young, and recently made his childhood dream come true – by learning to fly a sports airplane.

 

 

Štěpán Halada & Cornelie Haladová
Photo: archiv

Detlef Wittig: Life-long mission on four wheels
ALMOST A YEAR AGO, the German Detlef Wittig (63) replaced Vratislav Kulhánek as the chairman of the board of directors of Škoda Auto. This is a closely watched position – Škoda holds not only a place in the hearts of most Czechs, it also holds the greatest share of the domestic export market. Last year the automaker boasted record sales of CZK 150 billion and provided jobs for over a thousand new employees. Wittig is no newcomer to the auto business, having fallen for the charms of this field 37 years ago, when in 1968 he started his career as sales officer for Volkswagen AG. He gradually worked up to the positions of regional director in Japan and then president of Volkswagen Canada Inc.
He worked at the Mladá Boleslav Škoda plant between 1995 and 2000, when he was in charge of sales and marketing. When he took over as the boss last year his mission was clear. “Škoda needed a new stimulus, and I wanted to go for it,” he recounts. “Our goal is further expansion into new markets and intensive development of both our product range and things relating to our employees.” Wittig is very proud of them. “They’re unusually knowledgeable and skillful, and I sense that they’re highly motivated to constantly improve our products,” he says.
The chairman lives in Prague with his wife, who fell in love with the city on her very first visit, and the couple has a daughter living in Germany and a son in California. “We’re glad we can live here – we’ve become fond of the people, and we like discovering new places that are rich in history,” says Wittig. Though he describes himself as a typical workoholic, he loves relaxing on bike trips or walks around Prague.

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