Petr Kellner was a symbol of transformation in our society and economy after the 1989 Velvet Revolution against communism, says former Czech President Václav Klaus after the tragic death of the Czech Republic’s wealthiest man, an event that has shocked the country. According to Klaus, Kellner’s success lay in his talent and unprecedented diligence. He never sparked any tabloid sensations, which sets him apart from many of his colleagues, he added.
“The loss of Petr Kellner is tragic, not only for personal reasons but also in terms of his extraordinary position in our country and economy,” said Klaus.
The former Czech president recalled that the last time he was in contact with Kellner was when Klaus tested positive for Covid-19 at the end of February, and the businessman wished him a speedy recovery.
Kellner had extraordinary talent and excelled in his diligent approached, Klaus named as the two main reasons for Kellner’s success.
“He was not caught at parties and caused no scandals in tabloids in the whole 30-year era. He devoted himself to business far more than some of his colleagues, who could only envy his success,” he added.
“At this risky moment, he took the chance that thousands, hundreds of thousands of us were given, and we, unlike him, were unable to use it,” noted Klaus, adding that Kellner excelled in his wide portfolio of activities.
Kellner’s path to success
As the Idnez.cz news outlet pointed out, exactly 15 years ago, Kellner was the first Czech to join the Bloomberg list of world billionaires. And he had remained on it ever since, moving up the ranking most of the time. For many, the richest Czech was a symbol of success, while others criticized him for his inclination to the East, namely Russia and China.
The inclusion of Kellner in Bloomberg’s list of the wealthiest people on the planet then confirmed that the economic transformation in the 1990s had created a new group of Czechs. And Kellner, a billionaire who did not like to appear in public, was one of them from the very beginning.
The owner of the PPF Group started as a copier dealer. However, he made himself known in the early 1990s when he participated in the so-called voucher privatization, a procedure of transferring shares in state-owned companies to citizens. This way, he gained control of 200 companies worth 5 billion korunas (€191.5 million).
In recent years, Kellner has communicated with the public mainly through the PPF Group’s annual reports. In one of the latest ones, for example, he shared his views on society.
“Today’s Western society, and Europe in particular, is increasingly dominated by the ideology of individual claim, egalitarianism, and the relativization of traditional values. Modern ideologies tend to limit freedom, creativity, and critical thinking,” Kellner stated in the report.
Title image: Petr Kellner in the 2019 PPF annual report (ppf.eu)