New D&T Chairman V. Masár.
Masár's hiring brings excellent contacts to D&T as they compete for advising contracts at big state-owned companies lining up for privatisation in the next two years.
"We are persuaded that the experiences of Vladimír Masár will help us build good relations with international banks as well as the World Bank," Wood said. He went on to say that Masár will certainly assure that D&T will attract big clients, like the state-owned bank VÚB, steel-maker VSŽ and state-owned energy utility SE, all of whom are looking for future strategic partners and in need of helpful advisors.
Masár said he was happy he could meet journalists again, this time more relaxed than he used to be as NBS Governor. Shortly after the press conference, he told The Slovak Spectator that before he took the job, he had had negotiations with other firms, including one commercial bank which he refused to name. However, D&T's offer had been the most attractive to him. "I chose D&T because I have a feeling this company is more global than local. This is a good opportunity to take advantage of the skills I have as well as my international experiences," he said.
Some of D&T's competitors from the other "Big Five" hadn't heard about Masár's appointment. For Arthur Andersen partner Santiago Pardo, it was understandable that former high ranking state officials like Masár would want to work for private firms like D&T in order to further their professional growth. "D&T wanted to get him and they got him. All I can do is congratulate Mr. Masár," Pardo said.
On the other hand, Ernst & Young managing partner Peter Feith considered Masár's hiring unusual. "I would never measure a person only on the basis of his contacts, because that's what Mr. Masár has," Feith said. He explained that in some countries like Germany and Austria, if a person wanted to be a partner at a firm like D&T, he would have to have had experiences providing tax and audit services. "Apart from that, to become a partner a person must have a special certificate proving this experience," Feith said. While Feith insisted that quality of services normally outweighed contacts, he conceded the value of Masár's connections.
For Martin Barto, the head of strategy at the state-owned bank SLSP, it was no surprise that a person like Masár would take such a job. "I think it's natural and it makes the firm more serious," Barto said.
Masár didn't have to step into anybody's shoes at the firm, because D&T Slovakia created the position of chairman especially for him, though the post exists in many D&T branches worldwide. One of the most important duties the new chairman will be assigned will be to focus on the development of D&T's relations with top government officials and top executives of big Slovak companies. Apart from these duties, he will help to improve the overall image and profile of the company.
Masár also took the opportunity to eradicate rumours about his future political career. He said that there was no truth to suggestions that he would join former Slovak ambassador to the Czech Republic and one-time HZDS member Ivan Mjartan's political party, the Party of the Democratic Centre. "Professional ambitions will be predominant for me," he said.