Marek Thiemel studied a branch of non-manufacturing production at VSB-TUO. “Today, I would compare it to a branch of public economy. I remember there were some difficult courses, which definitely included mathematics. However, I enjoyed those where I could apply my logical reasoning,” recalls our graduate. The school gave him a decent background for his professional life, as well as many friends, with whom he is still in touch today. “Interestingly, I studied, thanks to the Velvet Revolution, two completely different ways of managing the economy – socialistic and capitalistic,” says Marek Thiemel. He chose this university because he did not want to travel far, but to stay in his hometown Dolní Benešov, and VSB-TUO had a very good reputation. “I was also influenced by my mother, who herself graduated from this university,” says the graduate with a smile.
Even after many years, Ostrava still evokes emotions in him. “I like to recall Baník, Vítkovice or Stodolní Street and our university. But I also remember my beginnings at the Bauhaus in the city centre and the management of the Hornbach in Svinov. After all, all my life stages are connected to that city,” Marek Thiemel tells us. His whole professional life (except for one year after graduating from our university when he worked in his mother´s travel agency) is connected with supermarkets connected to construction, workshops, and gardens. “The beginning was not easy at all; I was new in the field and I lacked any field experience. I started as a trainee at Baumax, where I underwent a training programme to be a shop manager. And it was a really tough school,” he introduces his beginnings. He learned every position – shop assistant, cashier and warehouse worker. “I got a huge overview of the positions and mainly lifelong experience. I highly recommend such a practice to all executives,” adds our graduate.
And how he got to Hornbach? “I think it was my destiny,” he laughs. He worked as a director at the Bauhaus in Prague, but he wanted to return to Ostrava and stay in the field. “Hornbach opened its first shop in Ostrava then, and I got an offer for the position of assistant to the shop manager for the gardening section. After less than a year, I was appointed to shop manager and then to regional manager for the whole Czech Republic, and subsequently for Slovakia,” lists Marek Thiemel. A year ago, he was offered the position of CEO for Austria, from Jan Hornbach. And he accepted the offer. “My advantage is that I have been working for Hornbach for more than 20 years, I know the company and its strategy. I also participated in the management of supermarkets in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, gaining a lot of experience.” Going to Austria was a huge challenge, as he is responsible for 14 shops and 1,700 employees. “I always try to work in a team, motivate co-workers and manage effectively. It does not matter what country I am in. But there are some differences,” he explains. He considers himself to be an old school type of person, and so he conducted all negotiations exclusively in person, before the pandemic situation. “Covid-19 showed me that some issues can be resolved and decided remotely via videoconferencing, which is also more economical. I can see the use of it in the future.” The majority of training for employees also takes place via online courses, employees from the headquarters use the home office system. In his field, every day is different. Marek Thiemel gets up around 6:00 a.m., and he is in his office in Vienna at 7:30. “Every morning, I review the results from the previous day, I write the necessary e-mails and then there is time for operational meetings with executives,” he says. Usually, his schedule is set for one to two weeks in advance, he prepares it with his assistant, and it includes business meetings and visits to the shops. “Once a week, I speak to the Hornbach directors managing in other countries, and also to the Board of Directors. We solve also operational issues, expansion, personnel matters, marketing, or e-business. I am not bored at all,” Marek Thiemel closes his story.