Michaela Bakala is an entrepreneur, manager, philanthropist, mother, and the wife of the owner of the media company Economia, in which she was a member of the Board of Directors for eight years. “My husband’s investment in the media was not an investment for his benefit or influence. As I know him, he was aware that something like Economia and Respekt deserved to stay on the market and still develop,” she says on the show Řečí peněž (Talking Money).
According to his wife, Zdeněk Bakala was interested in the media as a project in an area in which he had not previously worked.
“He took it as a professional challenge. It never occurred to any of us to use it as our PR tool, or for any other political-business influence. I cooperated with the media and it is my profession,” she claims.
She has always respected journalists, continues Michaela Bakala. “I respect them as an independent unit that has its own professional life. They may be my partners, but they are not my friends. At the same time, they are not my opponents,” says Michaela Bakala.
The Bakalas currently live in Switzerland and the United States. Their surname is a brand in the Czech Republic, which arouses emotions.
“Paradoxically, I don’t see it as a brand, on the other hand, I’m proud of it. I realized the values that my husband himself experienced, proved, and holds. I’ve known him long enough to see that he’s very consistent,” says Bakala.
“My husband aroused certain emotions on a political level as early as the 1990s, because he was one of the first to dare to criticize the voucher privatization of Václav Klaus. He also took an active part in the economic and political discussion club Lípa, which was critical of the transformation of the 1990s.”
I personally take criticism from politicians as an appreciation of our work. As an appreciation of our values.Michaela Bakala
Zdeněk Bakala also co-founded the Prague Stock Exchange.
“I know that Miloš Zeman or Klaus were not exactly fans of the fact that something like this is happening here. When I look back at his work, I think that others will appreciate him. And no longer under the pressure of the events this country has gotten into, often by accident and misunderstanding. I personally take criticism from this group of people, from politicians, as an appreciation of our work. As an appreciation of our values,” explains manager Bakala.
Bakala considers the privatization of OKD to be a closed chapter
“Because it turned out that this investment has evolved. It has become clear what is happening with the future of coal mining and everywhere in the world. How the energy crisis has shaken not only Czech mines.”
Bakala reminds us that the fate of OKD was preceded by the insolvency of other mining companies in the world.
“So it was a matter of the development that had nothing to do with what the then management did for the decision, whether left or right. It also turns out in retrospect that none of the decisions were criminal law and that there is nothing to return to.”
The moment coal mining proves to be economically unsustainable in the long run, there is nothing that can be done about it.Michaela Bakala
According to Zdeněk Bakala’s wife, OKD thus fulfilled its historical role.
“In the sense that as long as the mines were able to mine and make a profit, it is right for the mines to stay alive and employ people. The moment it turns out to be economically unsustainable in the long run – no matter the owners or the management – there is nothing you can do about it. Then one can only say that it could be faster or slower. “
Bakala never shirked responsibility
At the moment when the privatization of OKD began to be investigated by deputies, Zdeněk Bakala disappeared from the Czech Republic, or so it seemed. But Michaela Bakala claims that her husband visits regularly.
“Regularly, maybe not so often. When one comes under media and political pressure – and we have not lived here permanently for a long time – then logically your priorities are shifting elsewhere. But my husband never dodged responsibility. He commented on all the questions, even though he was overwhelmed – they did not want to give him the right space,” she replies, adding that Zdeněk Bakala has nothing more to add.
“I feel that this chapter has already been sufficiently explained and that all investigative processes are in his favour. Nothing illegal was ever found in his actions. He said it from the beginning, so did I. But no one wanted to believe us. At that time, it did not fit into the atmosphere,” concludes Michaela Bakala.