Board of Trustees
Iva Baranova works at Bakala Capital, where she is responsible for developing the Bakala family's international portfolio of philanthropic activities. She is also a member of the board of the Bakala Foundation based in Prague. Iva has more than 15 years of legal practice, during which she has worked for major foreign and domestic clients in the financial sector. As a senior associate at KPMG Legal, she has spent a large part of her career advising on structuring and implementing investments. She decided to join one of the Big Four firms after several years in the international banking team for Central and Eastern Europe at the legal office of CMS Cameron McKenna and a six-month internship at the London office of UniCredit Bank AG. Iva graduated from the Faculty of Law at Palacky University in Olomouc and completed study programs at the Faculty of Law in Salzburg, Austria, and George Washington University in the USA.
Following his studies at Prague’s FAMU film school, during which – in late 1989 – he worked for the US TV station CNN, he ran a production company that made a number of documentary films for Czech Television on the war in the Persian Gulf, as well as setting up a consultancy firm focused on relations between the private and public sectors. In 1990 he accompanied Václav Havel on his first state visit to the United States. He helped Olga Havlová set up the Committee of Goodwill – Olga Havlová Foundation and was by her side during her first independent visit to the US in April 1990. At the close of the 2000s he assisted Ivan Hašek in his efforts to modernise Czech football.
In 2004 he and his wife Jana began doing business in the residential accommodation sector and other property projects. His insights into the problems of Czech sport and sense of a societal “bad mood” led him to enter the public arena and begin influencing matters at local level at least. He has been a member of the Prague 5 council since 2019.
David Dušek has been collaborating with the Václav Havel Library for some time, as evinced by for instance the books Notes of the Accused (2016) and I Hid It Somewhere (2021). As co-producer he was part of the team behind the documentary film Citizen Havel (2007), directed by Pavel Koutecký and, after his tragic death, by Míra Janek. Since January 2022 he and Dagmar Havlová have been working intensively on the modernisation of the legal form of the Vacláv Havel Library, with a view to transforming it into an institution capable of holding its own among the younger generations and ready for the challenges of modern technology.
David Dušek is the grandson of the writer, translator and Charter 77 signatory Zdeněk Urbánek, one of Vacláv Havel’s closest friends. He therefore grew up in a “Havlovian” milieu and to this day regards that period as key to the shaping of his world view, understanding of context and moral values.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Gabriel Eichler, founder and senior partner in the company Benson Oak, has held executive positions in banking and industry in the USA and Europe. Established in 1991, Benson Oak is the oldest “investment banking boutique” in the Czech Republic and is now chiefly focused on direct investment. Mr. Eichler is deputy chairman (and former executive chairman) of the supervisory board of AVG Technologies, which he helped become the first Central European company to trade on the New York Stock Exchange. At the request of the company’s bank lenders, Mr. Eichler was elected chairman of the board, president and CEO of VSŽ, the largest steel company in Central Europe. He held those positions until 2001. He led the company from the edge of bankruptcy to profitability before subsequently negotiating its sale to US Steel. From 1994 to 1998 he was deputy chairman of the board and chief financial officer of ČEZ. Under his leadership, ČEZ became the first company in post-communist Europe to acquire rating (investment grade) and the first to access the Euromarkets and the US capital markets. He gained international banking experience at Bank of America where he spent 15 years, as chief international economist at the bank’s headquarters in San Francisco and as regional general manager for Bank of America in Paris, Vienna and Frankfurt. He was chair or member of several international sovereign debt restructuring committees and was also a member of the board of directors of Ness Technologies (Nasdaq), deputy chairman of the supervisory board of ČSOB and a member of the supervisory boards of Česká pojišťovna and Slovenská sporitelna, a member of the board of directors of the EastWest Institute and the Atlantic Council of the USA. In the early 1990s he was advisor to the Czechoslovak government on issues surrounding economic transformation. Mr. Eichler was born in 1950 in Bratislava and studied economics and international relations at universities in the US and Canada between 1968 and 1975.
Vítězslav Paděra is an attorney, arbitrator, and partner in the Law Office PADĚRA & PARTNEŘI s.r.o. During his professional career and everyday work activities he benefits from several years of experience not only from his active years in advocacy, but also from his position as an in-house lawyer in a renowned insurance company.
In his professional practice he focuses mainly on complex legal advice in the field of commercial, civil and labor law and related agenda, including representation of clients in negotiations and before courts. To promote and protect the interests of business entities, he has been an active member of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce of the Czech Republic since 2020, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Regional Chamber of Commerce of the Pardubice Region since 2023. He is also a proud member of the East Bohemian Regional Office of the Czech Bar Association. Moreover, he became an arbitrator of the Arbitration Court at the Czech Chamber of Commerce and the Agrarian Chamber of the Czech Republic in 2018.
Vítězslav graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, the Faculty of Business Administration and Regional Development at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague in the field Public Administration and Regional Development and Cultural History at the University of Pardubice.
Director of the Karel Komárek Family Foundation
From 2008 he held various positions at KKCG in corporate marketing and corporate social responsibility.
When the Karel Komárek Family Foundation was founded in 2017 he became its director, leading the foundation in the project, communications and fundraising fields. He ensures that the organisation fulfils its long-term strategic targets while also responding to the current needs of supported organisations and others. He is active in the development of the foundation’s key programmes and assesses the impact they make.
He monitors trends in the area of philanthropy, cultivates international partnerships and looks for new opportunities for future cooperation on foundation projects.
He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Academy of Classical Music, which runs the Dvořák Prague international music festival. Since June 2022 he has been charged with managing the Karel Komárek Proměny Foundation.
Board of Supervisors
Martin Palouš is Senior Fellow and Director of the Vaclav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy at the School of International and Public Affairs at Florida International University. He is also President of the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation and President of the International Platform for Human Rights in Cuba. He was one of the original signatories of Charter 77, served as its spokesperson in 1986 and participated in the creation of Civic Forum during the Velvet Revolution. After the fall of Communism Martin Palouš was a member of Parliament (1990), Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States (2001 –2005) and Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations (2006 –2011).
Václav Pecha is the Executive Director of The Bakala Foundation. In the past he worked as Director of Zaostřeno, a nonprofit organization promoting good governance, and Mentor for McKeller Corporation. He has held managerial positions overseeing humanitarian, development and electoral operations and aided communities in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and South Sudan. He helped organize the Afghan Parliamentary elections in 2005 and later worked as Project Manager at UNOPS, overseeing the OSCE’s EST mission for the presidential elections of 2009. From 2008 to 2009, he led the first Czech civilian PRT in Afghanistan with over forty developmental projects. He received the Non Article 5 NATO Medal for his work with NATO during the ISAF operation and the Czech Republic Minister of Defense Medal for Service Abroad. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor’s degree in Government and Psychology and earned his Master’s degree in International Affairs at Columbia University.
Nina Smitová graduated from the Faculty of Law of Prague’s Charles University (1999–2004) and undertook postgraduate studies in international public law, EU law and comparative law at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna (2005–2006). She defended her thesis at the Department of International Law at Prague’s Charles University in 2007. She is currently on maternity leave.