Czech career woman gets plum post in the EC

Marie Bohata

Marie Bohata is the exception to the rule. In a country where women rarely hold high posts, she has reached for one of the top jobs in the European Commission - and landed it. She is to be the new deputy director of Eurostat - one of just eight top posts being offered to candidates from the 10 newcomer states. Here's what she had to say about the job interview that will take her to Luxembourg - the headquarters of Eurostat.

Marie Bohata
"I had a very good feeling and I could really experience this equal treatment policy you know, not only being a female candidate -but among the short-listed candidates I was the oldest person there -and this is very encouraging especially at a time when in our country age discrimination is obvious. "

Marie Bohata has held several important posts in the past - she was head of the Czech Statistical Office, president of the Czech Association of Business Ethics and president of the executive council of the Czech branch of Transparency International. However it has not always been easy. At the beginning of last year, she resigned as head of the Czech Statistical Office amidst a huge scandal after the office made a miscalculation regarding the annual foreign trade results - publishing a figure that was 40 billion crowns off target. Paradoxically it was an audit by EUROSTAT that confirmed the error and cost Mrs. Bohata her post. Today Mrs. Bohata maintains that her conscience is clean.

"I invited Eurostat to come and do an audit here because at the time I thought it was extremely important to be transparent about what happened and also from the point of view of the reputation of the Czech statistical office on the international scene it was important to show that we were willing to provide all the information why the problem occurred, what happened and what was the reaction of the Czech Statistical Office."

Although Czech politicians are not in the habit of resigning when things go wrong Marie Bohata shows that an honourable exit from high office need not mean the end of the road.