Written by: Monika Mudranincová
Photos by: ČTK
Prague City Hall fulfilled its recent promise when it initiated and introduced a fine of maximum CZK 1 million for taxi drivers who cheat their customers. City Hall director Zdenek Zajíček said that the office will warn the public against corrupt taxi drivers online, at www.praha-mesto.cz
Under his management, Česká spořitelna increased net profit in the first quarter of this year to CZK 943 million, compared to last year’s CZK 346 million. At the same time, there was 11% increase in client deposits, which reached over CZK 400 billion.
The Czech Television news presenter was awarded the “Prize for freedom and future of media” in Leipzig for her personal engagement during the ČT crisis. She fought against the political influences towards public television at the expense of personal safety.
After 13 years since the fall of communism, the boss of the Czechoslovak State Police was finally sentenced to 15-month probation for giving orders to arrest those who opposed the regime. This represents at least a moral victory for those who actively resisted communism.
For five years he served as the head of the Prague Municipal Police, although he was listed in the StB registers and had a positive “screening”. Legally, Chyba should not have been allowed to do the job of the director at all, and he resigned from his post when the affair was made public.
The ODS deputy was the victim of the biggest theft on the grounds of the house of deputies, when he reported CZK 470 000 of his own savings missing from the safe. Cabrnoch said he regarded the parliamentary safe to be more secure than a bank.
|Photo: Petr Poliak
Jana Procházková: Her success is going global
THE FOUNDER, owner, and general director of Global Express, Jana Procházková (37) has decided to expand from the small Czech market, where her firm has steadily held its position as the third largest travel agency, to the world of large international business. In April 2002 she closed a business partnership with one of the largest global companies specializing in business trip management, Business Travel International (BTI), which runs more than 3,000 offices around the world and employs 30,000 people, with annual sales of USD 400 million.
Before 1989 Procházková made her living as a guide for foreigners, and she successfully drew on her experience in 1990, when she founded a travel agency. “My first investment was a fax machine, which I had at home in my living room, whence I ran the firm,” she says, adding that in twelve years her company has grown to employ 37 people, with sales of CZK 395 million last year. “Our partnership with BTI will bring us access to global customers, first-rate technologies, and heightened prestige and sales,” hopes Procházková, stressing that Global Express BTI, the company with the smile in its logo, will continue with its pleasant personal approach to its clients.
Does she have any regrets that after more than a decade she is giving up a bit of her “baby”, which she created from scratch? “Not at all,” Procházková answers without hesitation. “Being third in the Czech Republic means nothing from a global perspective. I hope that we will now become the largest travel agency on our market. But if someone came up with an offer to buy my firm and I knew that it would be good for the firm, I would happily sell it and start enjoying life,” she admits with an infectious smile..
|Photo: Tomáš Kubeš
Martin Dlouhý: Double-cheesburger and functionalism aficionado
MARTIN DLOUHÝ (33), the general director of the Czech branch of the multinational colossus McDonald’s, is one of those Czech directors who have successfully replaced foreign managers in international companies. Nine years ago he gave up private business and took a job with a firm that he thought would teach him a lot and advance him in his career. The company’s economic results for last year confirmed that Dlouhý’s hiring was good for both parties – since he became the youngest European McDonald’s general director in 1997, the number of restaurants has doubled (to 62) and the restaurants with the golden arches served 33.6 million customers last year alone, about three times the number of Czech Republic citizens.
The director, whose undefeated favorite remains the double-cheeseburger, is satisfied with his company’s operations. “Although I appreciate indicators such as sales and profit, I must admit that I get my greatest pleasure from people,” this boss of 3,480 says candidly. “We have managed to train an excellent team of creative, flexible, and independent employees on all levels,” he says with delight, adding that his claims are borne out by the fact that five Czech managers are employed in top management positions at foreign branches, and that 18 months ago the Czech McDonald’s branch took the Slovak branch under its wings. Dlouhý, whose credo is that everything should be done at full throttle or not at all, isn’t resting on his laurels. “To me, success is a relative term,” says one of the most modest representatives of the Czech elite with a smile. “It’s all the same to me personally whether I’m the general director or not. What’s most important to me is a good balance of work, family, friends, and hobbies. But I do have a dream – some day I’d like to build a house in the functionalist style, which I love,” Dlouhý admits.