Bednarik resigned as head of Czech Railways amid financial uncertainties
Blanka Havelkova, former chairwoman of the board of directors of the Transport Education Institute, was elected to the Board of Directors of Czech Railways today as the first woman ever.
At a meeting of the Czech Railways (České dráhy) Supervisory Board today Chairman of the Board Ivan Bednarik, Deputy Chairman Vaclav Nebesky, and Petr Pavelec, Member of the Board responsible for property and purchase, resigned.
Members of the board Michal Kraus, who is responsible for technology, and Jiri Jeseta, in charge of passenger transport remained on the board. Bednarik will leave at the end of February, after which Kraus will temporarily take over the management of Czech Railways. He will manage the company until the end of the tender for a new CEO, which will be invited by the Supervisory Board.
Bednarik indicated that one of the reasons for his resignation is financial disputes arising from land owned by Czech Railways and used by the state Railway Infrastructure Administration (Správa železnic). “The whole country will have to economize which will affect Czech Railways significantly,” the outgoing manager said. He added that the railways had submitted a business plan to the supervisory board, where they counted on a sum of CZK 3.5 billion from land, which the austerity-minded government will likely not allow.
In December, Czech Railways sent invoices of CZK 3.2 billion to the Railway Infrastructure Administration. This is rent since 2017 for the use of Czech Railways’ land on which the tracks of the Railway Infrastructure Administration are located. Czech Railways is also negotiating their sale to the Railway Infrastructure Administration. In an interview with the Czech online daily Zdopravy.cz, the new Minister of Transport Martin Kupka described the situation as a serious systemic problem.
“It seems as if the state has different limbs and is not able to coordinate their movements at the same time so that they make sense. I consider it a serious systemic problem. Two state organizations that fall under one ministry are not able to address the situation together. This only creates more potential legal problems in the future. We are doing everything we can to resolve the situation,” Kupka said.
Kupka mentioned the settlement of the land as the main task for the new Czech Railways management. He added the renewal of the rolling stock, the culture of travel and the care for human resources as other priorities.
Bednarik said at the press conference that 23,000 Czech Railways employees deserved his thanks live. “We did everything to give the Czech Railways’ blue flag its credit. I believe you will keep it up,” he said. According to him, only “history will show what the individual CEOs were like”. Bednarik will end his tenure at the helm of Czech Railways after less than 15 months. The supervisory board put him in charge of the company in December 2020.
Blanka Havelkova, the former chairwoman of the board of directors of the Transport Education Institute, a subsidiary of ČD, was elected to the Czech Railways board today. Havelkova is the first woman ever on the Board of Directors of Czech Railways, according to the Commercial Register.
The personnel reshuffle was preceded last week by a change in the supervisory board. Miroslav Zamecnik, an economist, was elected chairman today. Vojtech Kocourek and Jan Vratnik also quit the supervisory board; Jiri Minka and Petr Slegr are the new members instead. According to Zamecnik, the supervisory board will deal with the announcement of a tender for a new CEO on February 17.
On the other hand, no personnel changes are planned in the freight subsidiary CD Cargo. “I was at a meeting of the CD Cargo management today and made it clear that I am counting on their work and the further development of the company,” Kupka told CEETransport.com.