INVESTORS IN MSK
I Would Not Be Successful
Without the People around Me,
CEO of LIBERTY Ostrava Says.
Pavel Šedivý has been working at Liberty Ostrava for an incredible 39 years. He entered the smeltery right
after school and started off as a wagon cleaner. Over the years, he worked in many different positions
until eventually, last December, he was appointed CEO of the company. “If I did not have my colleagues,
no matter who would stand as head of the company, I could not get anything done,” Pavel Šedivý says.
40 years at the same company is truly
a long time. What major changes has
the smeltery undergone throughout
Compared to what it looked like when
I was just starting out, the smeltery’s inner
workings are completely unrecognizable.
We are incomparably more energy efficient,
and most importantly, exceptionally more
eco-friendly now. Over the eight years that
I spent in the investment department, we
invested 10 billion crowns into ecological
projects. Back when I entered the smeltery,
it expelled 33 thousand tons of dust every
year. Eventually, we managed to cut this
number down by 99%, which is a giant leap
that helped not only improve the smeltery,
but also the city as a whole. It allowed
Ostrava to become greener, and it makes
me incredibly happy for me and my team at
Liberty to be part of that process.
However, that is not all, as Liberty has
its own “green vision.” Can you tell us
some specifics about your plans when it
comes to Liberty and its “green vision”?
Our vision is to become a carbon neutral raw
steel producer by 2030. Current projections
estimate that this will cost us 8.6 billion
crowns, meaning that this will become
historically the largest investment. One key
step in this endeavor is the replacement of
four of our tandem furnaces with two hybrid
electric furnaces. These furnaces melt metals
through heat produced electrically, thereby
replacing the need for metallurgical coke,
which is by far the least environmentally
friendly part of the process.
That is an incredibly large investment.
Will this not handicap Liberty when
competing against countries outside
the European Union that have far lower
Yes, we are in fact already at a disadvantage
because European industry is significantly
greener when compared to the rest of the
world. Competing against imports from
countries with notably lower ecological
standards is very complicated. This is why
I believe that the European Union needs
to support its strategic industry more,and
therefore protect the thousands of jobs
it provides. This is all necessary when we
are planning such massive investments
towards ecological transformation. We
should do all we can to become selfsufficient.
Even now you are preparing for the future.
You recently began cooperating with
the Ostrava High School of Electrical
Engineering, in which you will have
an entire class of electricians. Are you
personally following this project?
Yes I am following it, and like the GFG
Foundation, which is another party we are
working with to facilitate this cooperation,
it has become a great priority of mine.
The hybrid furnaces are, of course,
a matter of money. What is more
important however, is the acquisition of
qualified people, because their operation
would not go smoothly without them.
I have been trying to create our own little
secondary vocational school for quite
some time now, because I see a lack of
qualified people as the biggest danger to
our industry. I understand that many young
people nowadays would rather try their
luck at becoming an influencer, but I still
believe that there is a sizable contingent
out there that would also like to help
us with our ecological transformation.
Steel is bound to remain central in future
development. Sustainable buildings, wind
turbines and other renewable energy
sources, are but a few examples of where
steel is essential. Our educational and
community programs have the goal of
finding the “green steelworkers” of this
Do you think the youth are receptive to
your efforts in becoming carbon neutral?
Definitely, and I can see this every time
I meet and talk with them. Five years ago,
we started building a youth department,
where we chose promising kids from
different schools. Today they have become
very familiar with the smeltery and its
employees, and they receive different
tasks regarding our technologies. And you
know what? They would like to stay with us
and be a part of this modernization. They
are very enthusiastic about our journey
towards carbon neutrality and making steel
production even cleaner than it currently
is, and I am very happy to see this.
It seems that even after all those years
in the business, you still have plenty of
passion. Does this passion transfer over
to your current employees?
I believe that it does. I always keep my head
up and it would be extremely difficult to
see me depressed. The people around me
help a lot with that. I have known all of them
for years and we are usually on the same
wavelength. Our goals are to make
the smeltery work, to provide people with
jobs and to keep moving forward. I think it
is great that my colleagues are as reliable as
they are. If I did not have them, it would not
matter who sat in the seat as CEO. Without
them I would not be successful in anything.
Liberty wants to become green for
the environment. Is the CEO of Liberty
green? Do you ever bike to work?
I would love to, but unfortunately I could
not figure out how I could fit that into all of
my responsibilities. At the very least, I catch
up on my biking on the weekends, even
throughout winter. Our home is located
close to a river. I only need to bike a couple
minutes to reach three offroad tracks that
I can choose from. For me, there is nothing
more relaxing than a good biking session.
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