“The company has had long-standing issues that, unfortunately, Director Spock has not been able to resolve as quickly as we would have liked,” Chernochova said.
Although no one denies that he tried, the situation of the company needs to be stabilized economically and in terms of personnel, so that it is ready for the production of infantry fighting vehicles and other strategic projects. According to him, the goal is not maximum profit, but an efficient enterprise to ensure the defense capability of the Czech Republic.
According to the minister, VOP CZ’s technical director Martin Shturala, who also serves as a member of the supervisory board, will be temporarily entrusted with the management of the company. He will be supported by another member of the supervisory board and former transport minister, Daniel Schock. At the same time, the ministry will issue a tender for the new director.
The ministry had already started probing the company in October. The newspaper Právo brought to the attention that the employees and unions of VOP CZ sent a complaint against the director to the Minister of Defense and a request for his dismissal. According to the newspaper, the employees were dissatisfied with the Špok management for a long time, and the last step was the management’s attempt to save the bad economic result by reducing the salaries of the employees.
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Spock later told the defense committee that he had made a mistake by trying to lower workers’ salaries through personal evaluations.
According to him, the reason for the list of measures, which include the withdrawal of personal ratings, is the task of bringing the company into the black by the end of this year.
Last year, the company’s management ended after several years with a net profit of 468,000 kroner, compared to a loss of 59.3 million kroner the year before. Last year, the company’s sales increased by 216.7 million to 1.26 billion crowns.
Spock became director of VOP CZ in the summer of 2022, having previously managed it from 2014 to 2019, when he was dismissed by former Defense Minister Lubomir Medner (ANO). At that time, he justified the appeal due to his dissatisfaction with the functioning of the company’s management and the company’s communication.
In 2022, Spock became director again without a selection process. The ministry justified its exemption from the law by saying it needed to fill up the post quickly due to strategic directives deemed to involve a government-owned company.
This year, VOP CZ became the main strategic partner of the Swedish company BAE Systems for a contract for 246 CV90 infantry fighting vehicles for the Czech army for 59.7 billion crowns. Their purchase was approved by the government in May.
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