Polish state-run companies set for another management cull

By bne IntelliNews October 7, 2016

Management changes in a number of state-controlled companies in Poland are certain to happen, a government official said on October 7. 

The cull - which would be second in under a year - follows an earlier decision to liquidate the treasury ministry, which currently oversees most of the firms, many of which are listed. Companies will be moved under the supervision of ministries relevant to their business.

Treasury Minister Dawid Jackiewicz was dismissed on September 15, reportedly for going overboard in handing lucrative posts in state-controlled companies to his circle. Now, a wave of new nominees is expected at several of the firms, Henryk Kowalczyk, head of the Prime Minister’s office, confirmed.

Changes will come once the anti-graft police CBA has finished an audit of the companies. CBA is probing the past two years operations - including the time they were under the supervision of Jackiewicz - looking for corruption or waste of public money.

“Results of the control, together with companies’ results, will give us information where changes in managements are necessary. We want to carry [the change] out by end of the year, before the treasury is [ultimately] liquidated,” Kowalczyk told PAP.

Speculation has been rife that Robert Pietryszyn, CEO of oil refiner Lotos, may be one of the first on the list for dismissal. Doubts also surround Wojciech Jasinski, at peer PKN Orlen. Remigiusz Nowakowski at power utility Tauron is another named as a likely target. All three were installed by Jackiewicz.

Kowalczyk also revealed that copper and silver miner KGHM will likely be supervised by the energy ministry. Insurer PZU will be controlled by the development ministry, while GPW - operator of the Warsaw Stock Exchange - will fall under the finance ministry.

The reform is connected with the promise of statist ruling party Law & Justice (PiS) to end privatisation. The party claims the previous government used the treasury to sell-off strategic companies in deals that were disadvantageous to the state. PiS has said it would like to increase the state’s role in important companies, especially in the energy, natural resource, and banking sectors, budgetary means permitting.

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