Harry Pollak

Born in Semtín near the Bohemian town of Votice, Harry Pollak decided to apply to the University of Economics after returning with his wife to the Czech Republic after a 50-year exile in Great Britain and Switzerland. After having talked to Professor Miroslav Synek, the then head of the Department of Business Economics, he started his graduate studies in 2003, drawing upon his life-long experience with managing companies in financial distress and restructuring six companies (Aston Martin, Papierfabrik Netstal or John Betts & Sons, among others).

After taking the state examination, he concluded his studies in 2003 by obtaining the Ph. D. academic title. The topic of Pollak’s first lecture at the University of Economics was unused potential of Czech exporting companies, when the salaries in companies in Prague then amounted to one-fifth compared to their competition on the European market. “My idea was that when the Americans or the Swiss with their big salaries have to find a way how to sell the same machines for the same price as you, there is a huge unused potential here. And I calculated that their profit

might increase sevenfold,” said Harry Pollak in the documentary by the Memory of Nations organization.

One of the conditions for attaining the doctoral title was also the publication of research studies in Czech. The studies that Harry Pollak published originally in Great Britain could not be accepted. Therefore he prepared a series of expert studies, part of which were published and part were rejected, because the texts were too extensive, according to the publishers. The author said a shorter version was out of the question, because the purpose and essence of his ideas would be lost. A total of 14 texts is now waiting to be published under the title Economic Reflections.

After concluding his three-year studies at the Department of Business Economics, Harry Pollak was very positive: “My cooperation with the professors and other staff at the Department has always been friendly and stimulating. Based on his long-year experience, Professor Synek was very helpful in reorganizing the text of my dissertation, so that my methods could be studied and understood. The professors at the institution where I had to take my examinations would provide the necessary advice and, after my handing in the required texts, compliments, although my texts based more on my practical experience than on theoretical grounds often would not fit the usual standards. Such as my assignment on strategic planning where I put forward several detailed ways how to rob a bank.”

In 2014, Ing. Mojmír Spálovský, Ph.D. followed in Harry Pollak’s footsteps, when he decided to verify Pollak’s method of Assessing the vitality of enterprises in his dissertation. He examined the method by carrying out structured interviews with the leaders and executives in businesses that found themselves in insolvency in the past. Unlike traditional methods of assessing business performance, this method sees the company as a living organism which is influenced not only by itself, but especially by its environment. The results of the analysis proved that this method is fully functional and succeeds in detecting the causes of “illness” that resulted in bankruptcy.