New investment center head

Professor Stratos Papadimitriou, currently head of the Athens Public Transport Organization (OASA), is the new head of the Hellenic Center for Investment (ELKE), Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis announced yesterday. Christodoulakis was the keynote speaker at an ELKE-sponsored conference on «Investment Challenges and Opportunities» where he defended Greece’s advantages as an attractive option for foreign investment and attacked Papadimitriou’s predecessor, Costas Bakouris, without directly naming him, for an «incessant tendency toward denunciation» that gave a «distorted view of the Greek economy.» In a move widely criticized as a shoot-the-messenger reaction, Christodoulakis sacked Bakouris last week, after the latter presented a report emphasizing the obstacles to more direct foreign investment. Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos remarked that foreign direct investment in Greece accounts for only 2 percent of the gross domestic product, the lowest figure among European Union countries.