Swift bloodbath reportedly on the way at Polish state companies

By bne IntelliNews November 12, 2015

The anticipated management cull at Polish state-controlled companies is set to start almost immediately when the new Law and Justice (PiS) government takes office, local media reported on November 12.

As is almost tradition in Poland, many managers of Poland's state giants are thought likely to be replaced by the incoming government. That expectation was only strengthened by PiS statements insisting the Polish state requires a thorough fix after the eight-year rule of Civic Platform (PO). 

The new government plans to act more swiftly, and widely, than is usual, however, according to unconfirmed reports in the Polish media. In particular, it seems likely that those heading privatisation programmes or seen as close to PO will see a quick exit.

Jakub Karnowski, the CEO of PKP Group is "certain to go," according to dziennik.pl. Brought in to oversee a massive sell off of state rail assets, Karnowski looks likely to be forced out before he can push the privatisation of passenger service subsidiary PKP Intercity. He may be replaced by PKP's former CEO Andrzej Wach, who was dismissed in late 2010 over poor oversight of the company, the news service says, citing sources "close to the incoming government". 

Seen as too close to the outgoing government, the CEO of listed refiner PKN Orlen Jacek Krawiec is “impossible to be saved,” according to the report. Former treasury minister Wojciech Jasinski is said to be in line to replace him.

Having been resisting participation in the rescue of the coal industry, executives at energy and fuels companies are especially vulnerable, according to the website. Changes are reportedly on the way at gas utility PGNiG and refiner Lotos, while the country's top gas consumer, chemical group Azoty, will also see management swaps. Copper and silver miner KGHM is also on the list.

The financial sector is seen as a top target. Zbigniew Jagiello, CEO of Poland's largest bank, PKO BP, as well as Andrzej Klesyk, the head of insurer PZU, are both reportedly on their way. The new head of the state-controlled bank could be former deputy CEO Michal Machlejda or former deputy treasury minister in the previous PiS government, Michal Krupinski.

Changes will also take place at flag carrier Lot and the Warsaw Stock Exchange. The latter’s CEO Pawel Tamborski is reportedly unpopular with PiS due to his role in the privatisation of chemical company Ciech.


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