The Chief Executive Officer of the Hellenic Republic Assets Development Fund, Costas Mitropoulos, has resigned. According to sources from the Prime Minister's cabinet, he thus eases the government in its intentions to change the fund's Board of Directors.
Costas Mitropoulos is expected to resign officially on Monday. Then, he will also file a report about the work completed during his mandate. As a reason for his resignation, he is expected to emphasize the lack of commonality with the new cabinet.
"He left because he knew he would go", commented associates of Antonis Samaras, who are already discussing names of potential successors of Costas Mitropoulos and of former chairman of the fund, Yiannis Koukiadis. He submitted his resignation immediately after the elections.
In an interview for Dow Jones Newswires a few months ago, Costas Mitropoulos pointed out that the privatization programme will be delayed and will not achieve its goals because the sustained political crisis has heightened the uncertainty about Greece's future in the eurozone. He added that the state's aim to gain 3 billion euros from privatizations by the end of the year is impossible. As GRReporter wrote at the beginning of July, during the Athens Forum organized by the Economist magazine, he complained that because of the elections, the last meeting of the Board of Directors was in April.
Some sources say, that the government sets great store by the Hellenic Republic Assets Development Fund, and next week there will be a meeting, at which leaders of the three parties in the governing coalition will discuss not only privatizations, but also the successor of Costas Mitropoulos. In recent days, rumours have intensified about the name of the Fund's new CEO. Some sources saw former Finance Minister of the government of Costas Karamanlis, Yiannis Papathanasiou, in this position.
But so far the new government has not revealed its intentions. According to sources, the belittlement of the Fund's importance in recent days was intended just to personally undermine Costas Mitropoulos. Others believe that the offensive was launched against the Fund as a whole.
A few days ago Prime Minister Antonis Samaras took the decision to establish a special directorate for privatizations, as he will personally supervise its work. Yiannis Mourmouras, his economic adviser and a professor at the University of Thessaloniki, was appointed to head it. In practice, Antonis Samaras copied the actions of his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who immediately after taking the prime minister's post, appointed a Deputy Minister of Privatizations, who reported on his work directly to the premier.
According to analysts, this is a clear sign that the fund will remain in a secondary position and the leading role in privatizations will be given to the prime minister's office, possibly together with the Ministers of Finance and Development, Yiannis Stournaras and Costis Hadzidakis.