CZ/SK verze

Does a member of the ČD Supervisory Board still work for a direct competitor and where does his income come from? Jiří Minka's tenure at ČD has emerged more questions.

Does a member of the ČD Supervisory Board still work for a direct competitor and where does his income come from? Jiří Minka's tenure at ČD has emerged more questions.
photo: Archives/Does a member of the ČD Supervisory Board still work for a direct competitor and where does his income come from? Jiří Minka's tenure at ČD has emerged more questions.
18 / 03 / 2022

Following the appointment of a new ČD Supervisory Board, the resignation of Ivan Bednárik as CEO of ČD, and the announcement of a tender for a new head of the national carrier, several questions have arisen about the future direction of the state enterprise. Former Transport Minister Havlíček (ANO) sharply criticizes the new government's personnel moves and claims that the real reason for the personnel changes at ČD is the drive for privatization. In addition, ČD's supervisory board includes manager Jiří Minka, around whom several uncertainties still hang.

The first was Minka's nomination to the Supervisory Board, which caused a major embarrassment since no political party signed up for Minka's nomination. Minka himself was also vague about his appointment. When the editors of RAILTARGET contacted Jiří Minka at the end of January to ask if he could confirm his participation in the ČD management, he said that he had not received such an offer and therefore was not even considering it. A fortnight later everything changed and Minka refused to comment on it (read here). This turnaround was completed on February 10th, when Minka became one of the new members of ČD's Supervisory Board (read here). However, it was not officially known who nominated him for the post. The editors of RAILTARGET, therefore, had to ask Transport Minister Kupka himself, who said in an exclusive statement that Jiří Minka was a nominee of the SPOLU coalition and specifically TOP 09 (read here).

Another issue with Mink's tenure on ČD's supervisory board is the question of his loyalty to the national carrier. Minka is still officially linked to the Polish national carrier PKP. In the public registers, Minka is listed as deputy chairman of the board of PKP CARGO INTERNATIONAL SK and a member of the supervisory board of AWT Čechofracht. This did not go unnoticed by the professional public, and this information sparked lively discussions about conflicts of interest under some articles that reported on personnel changes at ČD. If it turned out that Minka is indeed involved in the statutory functions of the PKP Group, the suspicion of a conflict of interest would be entirely appropriate. After all, the Polish PKP group is a direct competitor of the entire Czech Railways group, both in passenger and freight transport.

The editors of RAILTARGET, therefore, contacted Jiří Minka directly with a question about his work in the above-mentioned functions in PKP, but he did not answer the phone and responded only by text message. He stated in his text that he had not worked in any of the above-mentioned positions for several months. What is striking in this case, however, is the complete opposite information given in the registers. Why is Minka still listed there as Deputy Chairman of the Board of PKP CARGO INTERNATIONAL SK and a member of the Supervisory Board of AWT Čechofracht? Therefore, RAILTARGET contacted an independent lawyer, who said that according to the Act on Public Registers, the deadline for registration of changes in the statutory bodies of companies in the Czech Republic is 15 days. So how is it possible that Minka's name still appears in the register when Minka claims that he has not held these positions for several months? If it is true, how is it possible that the published data has not been updated?

Further questions arise over Minka's alleged departure from PKP. One would expect that, when a manager, who is also a deputy chairman of the board of directors or a member of the supervisory board, leaves the company, his departure would be publicly announced, as it is common in companies of similar importance. However, the possible departure of Minka was not reported, and everything took place secretly. What's the reason? RAILTARGET asked Jiří Minka about this, but he keeps the circumstances of his departure under wraps and has not provided the editors with any answer to this question.

There is one more important aspect. Working on the ČD Supervisory Board is not a full-time job. The other members of the ČD Supervisory Board have their own "full-time" jobs. The less time-consuming nature of the work also corresponds to its monetary value. It falls far short of the salary of the head and deputy chairman of the board of a powerful international company. In these jobs, salaries are estimated in the hundreds of thousands. What remains unknown now is who now employs Jiří Minka. This issue is particularly important in terms of the independence of his position on the Supervisory Board.

The timing is also important. Jiří Minka said he had left his well-paid job with the Polish carrier several months ago. It would be striking, however, if he had not arranged a replacement for this unannounced departure.

Or did he take these steps because there was an agreement that he would be nominated to the ČD Supervisory Board? RAILTARGET asked Jiří Minka today about his current occupation, but Minka did not answer this question either.

Why are concerns about Minka's current employer so important? As a member of ČD's Supervisory Board, Minka has access to all sensitive information relating to ČD's management and strategy. Such information would certainly be extremely valuable for ČD's competitors. For example, for the Polish national carrier PKP, in whose subsidiaries, as we wrote above, Minka is still listed in the public registers as deputy chairman of the board of directors and a member of the supervisory board. This opaque communication raises questions about Minka's loyalty to ČD.



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