"The most important thing is the fast and successful transformation of the Slovak economy," Česnek told the press upon being named to the post. "I will also pay great attention to completing the construction of Mochovce."
Česnek, who was born in Trnava and has an engineering degree from the University of Transport in Žilina, has worked in energy since 1970, when he started at Západoslovenské Elektrárne, or ZSE (the electricity distributors for western Slovakia). In 29 years at ZSE, Česnek worked his way up the ladder; in 1989, he was hired as deputy general director of Slovenské Energetické Podniky (Slovak Power Companies).
In 1994, this massive state-owned company became a joint stock company, changing its name to Slovenské Elektrárne, and Česnek became both general director and chairman of the board. In the position, he oversaw a conglomerate that raked in after-tax profits of 6.3 billion Sk ($210 million) in 1994 and 4.4 billion Sk ($146.6 million) in 1995.
As Česnek settles into the post, economists and businesspeople will be waiting to see his approach to the privatization process, particularly as regards Slovenské Elektrárne. "I do hope that cooperation will remain as high [as it was with the previous minister], and that the direction towards foreign firms increases," said Katharina Dragschits, advisor to the economic officer at the Austrian Embassy in Bratislava.
11. Sep 1996 at 0:00 | Hannah Wolfson