Top 20 richest Czechs and Slovaks: A woman leads the ranking for the first time this year

The late PPF owner Petr Kellner's widow is now the nation’s richest person as administrator of the huge financial group. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 27.09.2021 13:31:00 (updated on 27.09.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

The death of Petr Kellner earlier this year had profound implications for Czech business. Given the might of Kellner’s investment empire, it was also a seismic shock for the nation’s politics, and for a society in which Kellner was, despite his elusive and mysterious character, a household name.

Now, his death has led to a woman topping the ranking of the richest Czechs and Slovaks for the first time ever, with Renáta Kellnerová taking over the PPF Group.

The ranking of the richest Czechs and Slovaks was compiled by Euro. Kellnerová, the estate administrator and expected main heiress of PPF, is in first place, with assets worth almost three times more than the next-richest Czech, Radovan Vítek. Euro puts Kellnerová’s assets at around CZK 250 billion, while Vítek’s are CZK 90 billion. Third-placed Daniel Křetínský has assets worth around CZK 83 billion.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is now the sixth-richest man in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with assets of CZK 68 billion related to his huge Agrofert agriculture, chemical, food and construction conglomerate. Babiš fell two places from fourth in the rankings last year.

The highest-ranked Slovak is Patrik Tkáč, in fifth place with assets worth CZK 72 billion.

Although still far and away the richest Czechs, it is thought the value of assets owned by the Kellner family have decreased by around CZK 20 billion compared to last year. This is due mainly to Kellner’s death, as well as a decline in value for Home Credit, Kellner’s consumer loans business.

Nevertheless, when Kellner died it was believed continuing operations at the companies which he owned would be relatively simple given the differentiated business model which PPF operated.

“Petr had put in place a governance relying on a large team of very senior professionals and a structure where a lot of responsibility is within individual companies,” Jean-Pascal Duvieusart, CEO of Home Credit, then told Bloomberg.

Nonetheless Euro magazine argues Kellner “is likely to be irreplaceable in his role as chief corporate strategist.” His strategic guidance inevitably made him an important political figure too. His focus on operations in China in recent years played a part in increasingly friendly relations between the Czech Republic and the East, although his interest in Chinese markets had started to cool before his death.

Kellner was also famously reticent. Few photos of him exist in the public domain, and he rarely spoke in public. His daughter, Anna Kellnerová, competed for the Czech Republic as a showjumper at the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games.

With her mother taking over the reins at PPF, the financial group is still adjusting to life after Petr Kellner. Nonetheless, and while the Czech business world remains in flux, it is clear that the legacy of Kellner’s business empire lives on.

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