Milan Zelini died. A specialist in business administration, he is one of the most noted economists in the Czech Republic

NAnd on Christmas Day, less than a month short of his eighty-second birthday, Milan Zeleny, Czech-American economist and professor emeritus at Fordham University in New York, died in New Jersey, USA. This was confirmed to the editors of HN by Ivan Baťka, businessman and owner of Břeclav-based chemical company Fosfa.

It is a great loss not only for all of us but also for our country. It is at this time that we need such exceptional people the most. But his thoughts remain with us,” Baťka said, the funeral took place in the family circle on Tuesday. Fosfa closely cooperates with the ZET Foundation, which was founded by Zelený.

One of the most cited and respected Czech economists is Milan Zeleny. An expert in business administration, he was a great supporter of businessman Tomas Bada. “Milan Zeleny completely changed my previous view of business and the world in general, I learned from him to observe better, ask more questions and less exclamation points. Popular and polished but unhealthy management theories and publications of famous planners are less known, but respected and inspired by the laws of nature from all the healthy ones. “He taught me to differentiate. Thanks to his advice, I understood that without the principle of self-creation and balance, my business will not be successful in the future,” said Libor Witassek, former CEO of Vítkovice Group and owner of Strójkar company, evaluating the economist's contribution.

Zelený was born in 1942 in Klucké Chvalovice near Čáslav into a literary family. After studying at the University of Economics in the fields of labor economics, political economy, finance and quantitative methods, he joined the Economics Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in the Economic-Mathematical Laboratory with Professor Ota Schick.

Milan Zelený “was taught to recognize management principles that are harmful to the health of bad planners, from less well-known, but very healthy, respected and inspired by the laws of nature.”

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Photo: Günter Bartoš

In 1967, he went to study in the United States, where he decided to stay after Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia. He completed his studies in the United States and became an American citizen. In Czechoslovakia he was expelled from the Academy of Sciences and forbidden to publish his works, he earned Master of Science and Doctorate of Philosophy degrees at the University of Rochester in exile. He was a professor of business administration at Columbia University for 10 years and a lifetime professor at Fordham University in New York. He worked at Tomas Bata University in Zlín, but also at universities in China, Taiwan, India, Brazil and elsewhere.

His American professorship was not recognized in the Czech Republic, and after 1989 he was considered a foreigner there. He had serious disputes with then finance minister Vaclav Klaus, who referred to him as “some unknown Mr. Professor Zelini”. In the ranking of the most cited Czech economists, Zelený has long occupied the first place.

Based at Thomas Bata University, he co-founded the ZET Foundation with the aim of national entrepreneurship development and increasing the competitiveness of Czech companies, as well as companies in the US, China and other transition economies. On October 28, 2017, on the occasion of the 99th anniversary of the establishment of the independent Czechoslovak state, he was awarded the State Award – First Class Merit Medal.

“I very happily remember fishing together in South Bohemia, where we had deep discussions about the future of the Czech economy, which still has the historically proven foundations of Pav's thought in its DNA, and whose great boom is yet to come. “Libor Vitasek recalls Professor Zeleny.

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