Employer representation in a changing economy

Greek business is seeking to establish a new model of collective representation through its main agency, the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV). The trend toward expanding SEV’s base, the result of the changing Greek economy, is expected to be expressed at its general assembly tomorrow by its new president, Dimitris Daskalopoulos. The head of Delta Holdings food group (to be renamed Vivartia after the absorption of subsidiaries and the merger with snack manufacturer Chipita) is seen to have secured a consensus among both the old and new generations of businessmen. A pointer to SEV’s adaptation to the evolving Greek economy is the entry into its board of directors of Christos Tsangos, Microsoft Hellas’s managing director. The growing weight of new sectors of the Greek economy, particularly in services, and the relative decline of the country’s traditional industry over recent years is forcing SEV to reassess its role as a representative body and pressure group. Some even venture to argue that the time has come for a change in its name into one that would be more inclusive of the various sectors it now represents. SEV’s new role will have to incorporate yet another important change in Greek business: the evolution from family or individual-dominated enterprises to those with corporate responsibility which projects the role of shareholders and executive directors. According to sources, Daskalopoulos is expected to differentiate SEV’s position toward the state. He will place greater emphasis on entrepreneurship and urge adherence to market forces and existing laws. He will therefore buck the tradition of tabling demands and will avoid voicing any criticism of the government. He will also stress the need for improving productivity through modernization and for cooperating with the unions. Daskalopoulos’s predecessor, Odysseas Kyriakopoulos, is retiring from the post of SEV president after holding it for six years. His company, S&B Minerals, will be represented on the SEV board by managing director Efthymios Vidalis. The board will also include Dimitris Papalexopoulos, respresenting the new generation at Titan cement company and Hellenic Petroleum’s Panagiotis Cavoulakos. InfoQuest’s main shareholder Theodoros Fyssas will switch from the post of general secretary to that of vice president, along with Thanasis Lavidas. Chipita’s Spyros Theodoropoulos will not, after all, be on the board following the agreement for the merger with Delta Holdings.