Ex-business leaders to run state holding fund
Greece has picked two former business leaders to run the fund it set up last year to speed up privatizations and make the best use of the country’s assets to comply with its international bailout. Athens was meant to appoint the board of directors for the fund, which will oversee the country’s privatization agency (TAIPED) and its bank rescue fund (HFSF), and have it fully operational by the end of last year. Greece and its lenders did agree a five-member supervisory board for the privatization and investment fund in October and this has now appointed Giorgos Diamantopoulos, former chief executive at Kraft Foods in Greece, as chairman. Rania Aikaterinari, an engineer and former deputy CEO at Greece’s dominant power utility Public Power Corporation, is taking over as chief executive officer, the fund said. Privatizations, a key pillar of Greece’s bailouts, have raised little so far since the country’s first international rescue in 2010 due to political resistance, red tape and a strongly unionized public sector. Proceeds will be used to reduce the country’s debt, which at 180 percent of GDP is the highest in the eurozone, and boost investments. The board members will have a fouryear term, while its full composition will be announced in the next few days.