ECONOMY

Movement on OTE telecom front

The government is taking action on the OTE telecom front. Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou met with OTE workers yesterday and today is scheduled to meet with Deutsche Telekom board member Guido Kerkhoff, who is responsible for Southern and Eastern Europe. After the recent announcement by OTE Chairman Panagis Vourloumis of his intention to step down from the helm of the phone company, the government began looking for his replacement. «His replacement is being sought from within OTE,» Papaconstantinou was cited by workers as saying yesterday. The two names that appear at the top of the government’s list are those of Iordanis Aivazis, OTE’s chief operating officer, and Cosmote Chief Executive Officer Michael Tsamaz. The head of the mobile phone company appears to have the edge over Aivazis, as he has led Cosmote’s positive performance in recent years and is not involved in the acquisition of retailer Germanos. Additionally, he also appears to have the support of OTE workers. Papaconstantinou also told employees that the government’s communication with OTE has broken down as Vourloumis is not supported by the ruling Socialists. This lack of communication is hurting the company and the Finance Ministry is taking steps to change the situation in coming weeks, the minister added. As regards OTE’s intention to sell its 20 percent stake in Telekom Srbjia, the minister said that the government does not oppose this. Serbia yesterday announced that it will sell a 51 percent in Telekom Srbjia in a bid to raise some 1.25 billion euros.