Business briefs

Jaroslav Tvrdik, photo: CTK
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New head of Czech Airlines (CSA) is a noted restructuring and privatisation expert; Jiri Havel assumes role as Deputy PM for Economic Affairs; Prime Minister unveils half-time private/non-profit jobs scheme in Ostrava; Czech delegation heading to South Korea in hopes of sealing $1.2bn Hyundai deal; Parliamentary commission report on Unipetrol to find 'corrupt' only ex-aide to Prime Minister

New head of Czech Airlines (CSA) is a noted restructuring and privatisation expert

Radomir Lasak
The president and CEO of the national carrier Czech Airlines (CSA) is leaving that post to lead this year's election campaign for the centre-left Social Democratic Party. Jaroslav Tvrdik, a former defence minister, was at the helm of Czech Airlines for two and a half years. He will remain on its board of directors. Replacing Tvrdik is one of the best-known managers in the country, Radomir Lasak, who has years of experience in restructuring state-owned companies to prepare for their privatisation. He has worked for Komercni banka, eBanka, and most recently, the power utility CEZ.

Jiri Havel assumes role as Deputy PM for Economic Affairs

Jiri Havel, photo: CTK
The new Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Jiri Havel, assumed his post this week. He replaced Martin Jahn, a political independent who will return to the private sector. Havel said his priorities include passing a new bankruptcy act and a cap on health and social taxes, and supporting investment by Czech and foreign companies.

Prime Minister unveils half-time private/non-profit jobs scheme in Ostrava

Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek unveiled a pilot jobs-creation project this week in Ostrava that would encourage people to take part-time work in the non-profit healthcare and social care sectors. A person working full time in the private sector would be given a stipend to go half time in their existing position and half time with a non-profit. Their employers would also be given a subsidy. The idea is reduce unemployment levels by creating more half-time positions and to strengthen the social services sector.

Czech delegation heading to South Korea in hopes of sealing $1.2bn Hyundai deal

A Czech delegation will travel to South Korea next week for talks with the representatives of the carmaker Hyundai, which is considering investing 1.2 billion US dollars into a plant in Ostrava. Leading the delegation are the Deputy Minister of Industry, Robert Szurman, and Tomas Hurda, head of the government investment agency CzechInvest. The prospective deal had been delayed by negotiations to buy out the owners of farmland at the proposed site. Although the land has been secured, Hyundai has not yet finalised its decision.

Parliamentary commission report on Unipetrol to find 'corrupt' only ex-aide to Prime Minister

A final report by the chairman of the parliamentary commission looking into allegations of corruption surrounding the privatisation of the oil and chemicals group Unipetrol is due out this month. The chairman, communist MP Pavel Hojda, has reportedly found that the first two tenders were in order, and that no cabinet minister sought a bribe. Only one person, a former aide to then Prime Minister Stanislav Gross, is alleged to have sought a bribe. The aide, Zdenek Dolezel, was heard on tape asking for 5 million crowns in order to provide information on the tender to a Polish lobbyist and access to key politicians. Unipetrol was sold to the Polish group PKN Orlen, allegedly for millions of dollars less than its market value.