This year, the forty-seven-year-old Knap came to head the post office in 2018 as a managerial corporate star without any postman past. The long-time head of the technology company SAP for the Czechia and Slovakia and previously also a manager at Oracle or KPMG emerged from a selection process organized by the then Minister of the Interior, Lubomír Metnar.
Knap was logically a favorite of Andrej Babiš and his political clique from the beginning. Although the economic situation of the Czech Post worsened every year, Knap’s reputation as a successful reformer of the state juggernaut lasted even during the ministry of social democrat Jan Hamáček.
However, he did not gain much sympathy from the current Minister of the Interior, Vít Rakušana. The Austrian has been hinting since the beginning of the year that he is preparing changes at the head of the state-owned enterprise. The last straw was Knap’s meeting with the prosecuted lobbyist Michal Redl. In June, the minister announced that Knap would end his tenure at the head of Czech Post by the end of September. The director general of the post office himself has denied from the beginning that he had any contacts with the controversial businessman from Zlín, and called the events surrounding his resignation a political game.
The editors of Hrotu asked Roman Knap about the details of his departure in a short e-mail interview.
Is the minister’s position that you will leave the position of CEO of the Czech Post in September still valid?
This is a question for the founder of Czech Post, the Ministry of the Interior. I am ready to perform my duties until the appointment of a proper successor.
Are you planning to participate in the tender that the ministry is said to be announcing soon?
From my point of view, I still have something to give to the Czech Post and the post to me. I have a clear vision of where to direct the mail, and I want to present and implement it. On the other hand, there are other challenges in business than the Czech Post. I’m still undecided.
Allegedly, the union supports you staying in office. Can it in any way reverse the plans of the Home Office and what does this support mean for you?
Employee support is important to me. Not only professionally, but also personally. I get emails and other messages from managers and rank-and-file employees that they would like to see me continue. It pleases. Likewise, the voice of employee representatives, who are naturally mostly in opposition to the company’s management.
From the point of view of your work at the head of the post office, which key projects have you managed to complete and which, on the other hand, remain in progress?
A number of things that were simply missing at the post office were successful. Paying by card at each branch, ordering clients at the exact time to the branch so they don’t have to wait for their postal matters to be processed. Introduction of the most successful Czech Post brand – Balíkovny. Change in cooperation with ČSOB, salary increases, we still operated during the covid lockdowns, we did not close down like others. Although we were perhaps the only ones who did not receive state compensation for additional costs in the amount of 750 million crowns. The European Commission has confirmed that we are entitled to reimbursement of the costs of providing a universal service from 2018, in the amount of 7.5 billion crowns.
You also got a postal license for the next two years without a fight.
Yes, even though the competition was announcing how they would compete with the post office. There are many such successes. On the contrary, we are now in the phase of preparing the transformation of the Czech Post into a company that will survive on the market in the future. And this is not a job for days or weeks. Furthermore, the entire post office must prepare for the arrival of the DEPO Act, when over two million “Icarers” will receive an automatically created data box and the post office will lose more than two billion crowns in revenue.
In particular, the planned acquisition of PNS or parts of its business resonated on the media scene. What stage is this project at?
The project continues with calculations and assessment by ÚOHS. It is still true that either it turns out to be beneficial for the post office or it is not. The company will arrange itself accordingly.
Roman Knap (47)
- He graduated from the University of Economics in Prague, majoring in business economics.
- He started in business positions at Oracle and KPMG Consulting.
- He has worked for SAP since 2008, and since 2014 he has been its head for the Czechia.
- In 2018, he won the selection process for the head of the Czech Post.