What to expect from new chief of energy giant ČEZ?

Martin Roman has been the face of ČEZ since 2004. On Friday, he quit

What to expect from new chief of energy giant ČEZ?

“Martin (Roman) is running ahead and somebody must run behind him, civilizing it all.” That’s how Daniel Beneš described the division of power in ČEZ, a Czech energy sector giant, when Roman was the CEO and Beneš executive director. Now, the frontrunner has quit, and the “civilizing” runner-up assumes the leadership. In other words, Martin Roman quits as the CEO of ČEZ, and the company’s executive director Daniel Beneš (41) assumes the big job. Roman and Beneš are very close, so it can be expected that the new CEO will not make any significant changes in the business model implemented in ČEZ by Roman.

Beneš started to work in ČEZ in 2004 – in the same year, Roman became the CEO.

Both Roman and Beneš earned millions in ČEZ, above all thanks to a very generous “motivational program” which enabled senior managers of ČEZ to buy shares at discount prices. The program was eventually scrapped due to public outrage.

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For example, in 2009 Beneš bought 75,000 ČEZ shares for CZK 44.6mil – only to sell them immediately, earning CZK 67.7mil. One year later, Martin Roman earned CZK 32mil in the same way. “Cost-cutting? My favorite expression”
When he became the company’s number two, Beneš said in an interview with Hospodářské noviny, a Czech business-oriented daily: “Cost-cutting, that’s my favorite word.” While Roman’s duties in the company were overall strategy and expansion to European markets, Beneš was watching his back. His duty was to assure that even in case of falling electricity prices, ČEZ would still reach tens of billions of Czech crowns in annual earnings The record profit was CZK 52bil (EUR 2.1bil) in 2009, which was the highest profit ever reached by a Czech firm at the time. And CEZ owes this record profit to Beneš as much as to Roman. However, there are still some battles left to be fought for Beneš. Key battles, actually – carbon-dioxide emission allowances or construction of new blocs of the Temelín nuclear plant. Luckily for Beneš, he will have his back watched (and his efforts “civilized”) by a skilled runner-up, Roman.
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