I was born on 11th August 1958 in Pilsen. I spent my childhood in the countryside. My parents worked in agriculture and until I reached the age of fifteen years, it seemed that I would continue in their footsteps. At school, I enjoyed everything that was linked to nature and sports. I liked spending my leisure time just like other boys – biking, playing football and, later on, horse riding in the Blovice equestrian club. At the age of fifteen, I decided to study at the Jan Žižka Military Secondary School in Moravská Třebová. A lot of people ask me why, as a village boy, I chose to study at a military school. It was probably due to the place where I grew up. At that time, virtually every town in the Pilsen region had its own military garrison, so it was not unusual for us to meet a military convoy on the road or to see soldiers with radio devices on the village square. In fact, it was the technical equipment that interested me most about the military.
After my high-school graduation, I went to the Slovakian town of Martin to study missile troops and artillery. When I was in my third year, the school moved to the Moravian town of Vyškov, where I graduated. I got married and had a daughter. Today, my wife and I have two grandchildren. Throughout my career I never really had much time for hobbies, but my lifelong love for horses never left me. Even today, if I have some time to spare, I like to go horse-riding, or I just stop by the stable to have a chat with friends about what’s new among the stablemen and horsemen.
In 1989, when the Velvet Revolution came, I was an officer in the staff of the tank division based in the town of Slaný in Central Bohemia. The political regime change opened new possibilities. In 1991, I became an officer within the Military Police Administration at the Ministry of Defence, I started studying French, and was subsequently selected for a course in the French military gendarmerie in Paris. When I returned, I started working in the Military Police. I spent there eleven years, I was promoted to the rank of chief and then I rose to the rank of general. Back then, I managed to submit a bill on the Military Police, which clearly laid down the rights and obligations of Military Police members, who could thus become an integral part of the Czech Armed Forces and cooperate with similar units in other NATO countries. I returned to France in 1998. I studied at the Paris-based war school and then worked as a military attaché at the Czech Embassy in Paris for six years. In 2014, I was appointed First Deputy Chief of the General Staff and between 2015 and 2018, I served as Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces. My greatest professional success at this rank was that we managed to prepare the ‘Concept of the Build-up of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic 2025’ and submit it to the Government of the Czech Republic for approval. This document offered a clear vision and formed the basis for the Concept of the Czech Armed Forces 2030, which was approved recently. I received the Cross of Merit of the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic, which is the highest Czech Defence award, and I also received two major decorationsfrom the Republic of France – the Order of Legion of Honour and the National Order of Merit.
After leaving the position of Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces in 2018 and a short rest in a civilian environment, in January 2019, I accepted the offer of holding SKUPINA, a.s., where I had the position of President of GLOMEX Military Supplies for three years. In the interest of further development of the holding SKUPINA, a.s. and based on cooperation with ZETOR ENGINEERING, s.r.o., a new joint venture ZETOR DEFENCE, a.s. founded in 2021, where I was appointed Executive Director.
ZETOR DEFENCE specializes in developing, producing, and selling armoured vehicles, currently mainly the ZETOR GERLACH armoured vehicle range. For our potential customers, it is crucial not only that we can deliver these vehicles in the necessary quantity and with the appropriate quality to meet their requirements. No less important is that we can provide complete integration of weapons and communication systems, including state-of-the-art command and control equipment. We also commit to the customer that we will offer all technical support throughout the vehicle’s life cycle for a minimum of fifteen to twenty years. As we focus our business activities mainly on the Central European territory (primarily the Czech Republic and Poland), it is crucial for our customers that we guarantee an 80% share of domestic production in the final product. None of the components come from a manufacturer more than a thousand kilometres away from the parent plant in Brno.