Janusz Filipiak, co-founder and CEO of Comarch, Poland’s 2nd largest computer company, died on December 17, 2023, at 71. He was a professor of technical sciences, computer scientist, entrepreneur, university teacher, and soccer enthusiast. He was an exceptional visionary who made a unique contribution to the development of the Polish IT industry.
Professor Janusz Filipiak was born on August 3, 1952 in Bydgoszcz. He graduated with a master’s degree in electrical engineering with honors from the AGH University of Science and Technology in Cracow in 1976. He was then awarded the Stanislaw Staszic Medal for the best graduate of this university. The same year, he took a job at AGH, receiving his doctoral degree after three years and his postdoctoral one after eight. In 1991, at just 39, he received an academic appointment from Polish President Lech Walesa.
He was involved in new technologies for more than 40 years. He specialized in telecommunications, including integrated networks and data communications. In the latter field, he was the author of 6 books, 3 of which were published in English. These include “Modelling and Control of Dynamic Flows in Communications Networks” (1988) and “Real Time Network Management” (1991). In addition, he has published more than 100 articles on ICT in well-known specialized journals. To name a few, “IEEE Transactions on Communications,” “IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications,” and “Operations Research.” He also published “Telecommunication Services for Developing Economies” (1991) for a year. His most recent publication was the autobiography “Why We Made It” (2022). He dedicated it to his children Anna Berenice, Janusz Jeremiah, and Maria Clementina.
As a scientist, Janusz Filipiak was active in the 1980s, not only in Poland. He was a scientific consultant to France Telecom. He served as director plenipotentiary of the Teletraffic Research Centre at the University of Adelaide in Australia. Filipiak also conducted research projects in laboratories in the US and Canada. In the 1990s, he headed the Department of Telecommunications at the AGH University of Science and Technology.
In 1993, with his wife Elzbieta, Janusz Filipiak founded Comarch, an IT company that developed proprietary business software. He became its President in 1998 and remained so until his death. Later he transformed the company he created into a capital group. In 2000, he was listed for the first time on Wprost weekly’s list of the 100 wealthiest Poles. In 2021 his wealth was valued at $160 million.
Janusz Filipiak has repeatedly received various awards for his work in the field of information technology. In 2004, he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Rebirth of Poland for outstanding contributions to developing ICT. In 2012, he was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Rebirth of Poland for exceptional contributions to the development of the national economy and achievements in charitable and social activities. A year later, he received the 2012 IEEE Communications Society Distinguished Industry Leader Award. It was for his contributions to communications and information technology development.
In October 2015, he became a member of the National Development Council appointed by President Andrzej Duda. A year later, the President of Poland recognized him for his unique contributions to Polish entrepreneurship by awarding him the Individual Economic Award of the President of Poland. In 2018, he was the only CEO of Central and Eastern Europe company to participate in the French International Business Summit. It was held under Emmanuel Macron, President of France.
In the same year, the chapter of the Polish Informatics Society awarded him the Medal of the 70th Anniversary of Polish Informatics. Posthumously, he was awarded the Commander’s Cross of Rebirth of Poland.
His great passion was soccer. It was probably why his company acquired in 1993 a majority stake in Cracovia. It is Poland’s oldest sports club, which had been operating continuously since 1906. Janusz Filipiak became its President in 2004 and remained so until his death. During his tenure, the soccer team began to become increasingly successful. Within a few years, it was promoted from the Third League to the Premier League. And in 2020, it won the Polish Cup and Polish Super Cup. In addition to the football team, Comarch also sponsored the field hockey team, which won the national championship 7 times. And Jan Krzysztof Duda, one of the best chess players in the world.
Also, read about another of Poland’s most prosperous IT professionals, Pawel Marchewka, here.