Kyiv, April 12, 2016. Nominations Committee suggests polish Wojciech Balczun as a candidate CEO of state railway “Ukrzaliznytsya”, informed Aivaras Abromavicius, Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine (MEDT), at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Wojciech Balczun is a successful leader of a number of the largest Polish enterprises. “First, he showed himself as a good leader of the largest Polish bank PKO BP and reached career heights as a head of the Polish Railways – PKP Cargo. Wojciech Balczun “is kind of a Svyatoslav Vakarchuk (famous Ukrainian signer and civil activist – UCMC note),” and is the leader of the most successful rock band in Poland,” explained the Minister. Ihor Smilyansky has been chosen to head state postal service “Ukrposhta.” He has 17 years of professional experience in consulting management in Ukraine and in management positions, including in Eastern Europe and the CIS countries, now he is working in New York, informed the Minister. The Nominations Committee for the appointment of CEOs to chair major economic enterprises within the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade has proposed a citizen of France and Mexico Jean-André Barbosa to fill the post of CEO of the SE Plant Electrovazhmash, producing complete electrical equipment for railway and municipal electric transport. The selection panel included four officials and three independent members of the board; one of them heads the board. Representatives of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), USAID, the International Monetary Fund and other international organizations were the observers, noted the Minister. Finalists of the selection of these three competitions differ completely from those selected earlier.
“This is the result of two factors. The first one – market wages, and the second – an active search for candidates by attracting headhunters with donor funds,” explained the head of the MEDT. He noted that during the process there has been systematic resistance, political pressure, intervention of courts in competitions. “Indeed, we have quality candidates. All they need is just political support,” added Mr. Abromavicius. According to him, now these persons should be appointed at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers as soon as possible. If the next prime minister wants to show his reformist intentions, this is his first chance, emphasized the Minister. “Transparently selected candidates with high qualification can introduce changes into state companies. The next government must appoint these candidates to start the fight against corruption in deed and not in name,” concluded Aivaras Aromavicius. Sevki Acuner, Director of the EBRD in Ukraine, noted that the reform of state enterprises in Ukraine is one of the most important, in which the EBRD and other international financial organizations are helping Ukraine. “An independent and effective management at such state-owned enterprises without any political influence is an important element in reforming enterprises and the country as a whole,” said Sevki Acuner. However, he expressed hope that with the new leaders, these companies will generate resources and become profitable. Adomas Audickas, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine, also called this competition an important achievement. He hopes that such selection will become a standard to elect candidates for managing other companies. “I hope that we will see how these public companies become profitable, and create billion-dollar profits for Ukraine, because Ukraine needs this money very much,” said Mr. Audickas. “We have finally fixed market wages at Ukrainian state-owned enterprises. This is what always interfered when competent people did not want to take a position, knowing that they will get a 1000 hryvnia wages or, maybe, 10 000. And it is in an extremely corrupt environment, when you cannot survive on the money, with these costs,” said Volodymyr Omelian, Acting Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine. Publicity and impartiality can guarantee that these would be worthy candidates, he said. However, it is one of the first steps in this direction. “But their appointment or their election is not a guarantee for 250 years to come,” said Mr. Omelian. That is, either the head works and shows the result or, if he does not fulfill the task of reforming, he is released, he explained. Roman Bondar, Talent Advisors Partner, as head of one of the selection boards, said the candidate-selecting process included constructive dialogue and criticism, and there was no pressure or resistance. “There are three qualities that we put above everything. This is zero tolerance to corruption, impeccable professional reputation and proven experience of managing changes,” said Mr. Bondar.