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.
Photo: Vladimír Weiss
Martin Trnka: An official with high hopes
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 staff changes.
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.