ECONOMY

New management appointed at TAIPED

Greece appointed early on Tuesday new management at the country’s privatization agency (TAIPED), which is expected to play a key role in implementing the leftist government’s plans to limit further state asset sell-offs.

Asterios Pitsiorlas, a businessman involved in the tourism sector, will become chairman of the agency while Antonis Leoussis, former chief executive at Greece’s fourth biggest lender Alpha Bank’s real estate arm, will be chief executive.

Pitsiorlas and Leoussis will replace Emmanuel Kondylis and Paschalis Bouchoris, appointed to the helm of the agency in July by the former conservative government.

Just a few days after leftist party SYRIZA took office in January, newly appointed Alternate Finance Minister Nadia Valavani asked the former TAIPED management to resign, after settling pending issues regarding ongoing privatizations.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s government is opposed to some key asset sales, but has promised not to cancel completed privatizations and only review some tenders as part of the terms of a four-month extension of its bailout program, agreed with international creditors last month.

During a parliamentary committee which ran over into the early hours of Tuesday, Valavani said she would present legislation to create a new body to manage state assets, reiterating a previous suggestion that TAIPED would eventually be replaced.

SYRIZA has long opposed sell-offs undertaken by the previous conservative-led government but has been forced to somewhat moderate its stance as Greece negotiates with its European partners over a new aid package.

Greek representatives started talks with official international creditors in Brussels last week in a bid to agree on a set of reforms and unlock much-needed funds.

Privatizations had been meant to raise billions for Greece’s depleted state coffers under its 240-billion-euro bailout with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund since 2010.

Proceeds have been disappointing so far, amounting to about 3 billion euros, a fraction of an initially targeted 22 billion euros.

[Reuters]