Pavel Vyhnalek

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“I see life as a road with many crossroads. It is purely up to you to see these crossings as ‘coincidences’ or ‘accidents’ or ‘chances’.”

I was born in communist Czechoslovakia to two veterinarians. Yet, from a young age, I was more intrigued by steam locomotives and cars than animals. When I was 13, I disassembled my father’s old Skoda and then re-assembled it. To my surprise, the car ran even better than before, and for the rest of my schooling years, I earned my pocket money by repairing cars.

Owing to my love for automobiles, I thought I would pursue a career as an engine designer. Instead, life led me down a different path. Looking back, I strongly believe that when life presents you with a fork in the road, the two paths are often vastly different. It’s up to you to see that as an opportunity or a threat, and you can then make the best of your chosen route.

While at a technical university, I was given the opportunity to also study foreign trade financing. My professor had inspired me so much that I changed my goal and decided my dream job would be to work for her. I applied to the bank she worked at, but was turned down. I didn’t let that dampen my spirit. Instead, I applied again and again, even turning down offers from other banks until I finally received one from my professor’s bank.

During the same period, I was offered work at the World Expo in Spain, and even with no clear path back to my dream job, I decided to take the leap and go to Spain. I did not know what to expect as I never worked abroad, especially in western countries, and was not a finance person. It was a tough year, but I learned a lot. The experience taught me to be resilient, to believe in myself, and to continuously pursue growth opportunities. 

Luckily enough, after the World Expo ended, I was able to return to the Czech Republic and work for my professor. I have since spent over 30 years in financial services, holding multiple C-suite roles at KBC, GE Capital, and also as a partner at PPF, building up the Home Credit franchise.

I have worked in both retail and corporate banking, turned around businesses, and built multiple startups across four continents. I truly enjoy working with people who come from different backgrounds and cultures. I believe that diverse teams bring to light diverse opportunities. This diversity often means a variation in thought that gives teams an edge in choosing the best opportunities and being able to execute them well. I believe that excellence in execution is what differentiates successful people from the rest.

I’m driven by the opportunity to collaborate with others and I believe in the strength of teamwork to generate significant value. I advocate for the idea that more minds bring more knowledge and that teamwork can help foster a culture of excellence in execution.

I’m on the lookout for enterprising minds who are resourceful even in the face of demanding challenges—doing this ensures sustainable profitability in the long term and helps craft unique products that gain widespread adoption.

Get in touch with Pavel

Family / Golf / Investing / Traveling / Foodie with a sweet tooth