CZ/SK verze

Ivan Bednárik will be the new head of Ceske Drahy (Czech Railways). The best Czech railway manager is heading to the head of the state enterprise.

Ivan Bednárik will be the new head of Ceske Drahy (Czech Railways). The best Czech railway manager is heading to the head of the state enterprise.
photo: Bednárik
26 / 11 / 2020

Czech Republic is facing a change in the management of the state-owned company České dráhy (ČD). The current head, Václav Nebeský, will be replaced by Ivan Bednárik, current Chairman of the Board of Directors of ČD Cargo. This also state-owned enterprise under Bednarik’s leadership started to report annual profits of hundreds of millions of Czech crowns. Ivan Bednárik is rightly called the best railway manager in the Czech Republic.

Under the leadership of Ivan Bednárik, ČD Cargo achieves very good results not only at the economic level. It is these managerial skills and experience that are the obvious reason for his promotion to the mother company. Ivan Bednárik will become the CEO of Czech Railways. Information appeared in the Czech media that the Ministry of Transport was not satisfied with Nebeský’s results in the management of the state enterprise. Large financial losses were also caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The state carrier also lost other service contracts. There is talk that losses of CD could reach up to 3 billion crowns.

 According to some sources, Václav Nebeský, unlike Ivan Bednárik, did not have enough experience to be able to run such a large company. However, his career had stellar growth. He started at ČD Cargo as a train dispatcher. After four years in this job position, he became a technologist and subsequently a system specialist. He also worked in other ČD companies, such as ČD-Telematika and ČD Informační systémy. Prior to joining ČD, he worked at the Ministry of Regional Development, where he worked as a political deputy.

Ivan Bednárik's work, on the other hand, is a period of stability, economic development and modernization for ČD Cargo. This period has lasted for the sixth year. Before Ivan Bednárik took office, four managers took turns in the hot chair of the Chairman of the Board of Directors within three years. The Ministry of Transport is so satisfied with the current management of ČD Cargo that in 2019 it extended the contracts for another 5 years not only to Ivan Bednárik, but also to two other members of its closest team.

The best picture of every senior manager give the economic results of the company. In recent years, ČD Cargo has been making a profit of hundreds of millions of crowns. In 2017, the profit reached 405 million crowns and a year later even 762 million crowns and last year 530 million crowns. Before the arrival of Ivan Bednárik, however, the economic results showed deep losses, which in 2012 reached almost two billion crowns. At the same time, sales and equity declined.

Other economic activities of ČD Cargo included, for example, the issuance of its bonds. The company thus obtained capital for investments in the modernization of the vehicle fleet and security systems. Nevertheless, the state-owned company remained in good financial condition and the debt did not exceed 50% of equity.

ČD Cargo also focused on further expansion abroad. The state-owned company obtained a license to operate in Germany. On the Ingolstadt route, its wagons carry wood, for example. A significant step in the framework of foreign expansion was the renaming of the subsidiary ČD Logistic to ČD Cargo Logistics. This led to a clear connection with the stable company ČD Cargo. ČD Cargo Logistic focuses on long foreign shipments. Following changes in management, the company increased its profit by 30% in 2019 and also strengthened its market position. ´

Another skills of Ivan Bednárik for the state-owned company is that he is not afraid to withdraw from unfavorable contracts and draw attention to unfavorable financial transactions. Such a case was, for example, the lease of halls in Lovosice, which was concluded by the former head of the Cargo, Josef Bazala, and thanks to which Cargo lost 60 million crowns a year. At that time, there was a discussion about possible corruption and taking out hundreds of millions from the state-owned enterprise. Another and much better known step was the inclusion of companies belonging to the Šuška’s brothers' empire on the CD Cargo black list of unreliable suppliers. Due to non-compliance with contractual conditions and low quality of delivered services, companies such as Ostravské opravny a strojírny (OOS) were included in the list of companies with which ČD Cargo will not cooperate. Our editorial staff brings you information about this case regularly.

Shortly after the Šuška’s brothers were listed on the black list, an annoying media campaign against ČD Cargo and its management began in the Czech Republic, which also included the Šuška’s brothers' statements in the press. The articles challenge the agreement between ČD Cargo and SMK, which is part of the strong Budamar group. Under this contract, 500 wagons were modernized, which would otherwise have been scrapped.  The wagons were sold to SMK at a price determined by an expert opinion. SMK is subsequently performing the reconstruction of wagons, which are then to be leased back to ČD Cargo for 10 years (with an option for 15 years). ČD Cargo also repeatedly checked the prices and the entire supplier selection procedure was transparent.

The modernization was also scrutinized by the Railway Authority, which confirmed that the technical parameters and the whole modernization are in order and there is no reason to initiate administrative proceedings. ČD Cargo also had two independent expert opinions and an economic audit prepared. ČD Cargo's press release on the results states: "The results of independent assessments have clearly demonstrated the high technical quality of the modernization and the economic viability of the contract." The management of ČD Cargo have acted in accordance with regulations.