This week two developments at the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) made headline news. First, the Greek privatisation agency confirmed its medium-term revenue targets. The HRADF’s chief executive officer, Paschalis Bouchoris, in charge since August of this year, argued that TAIPED (as it is known by its Greek acronym) can reach the revenue target of 9.6 billion euros by the end of 2016.
Bouchoris’ three predecessors have constantly had to revise downward the HRADF’s revenue projections. Thus, the new CEO’s optimistic outlook has to be viewed with a sense of caution. All the more given the fact that only one day after Bouchoris’ revenue target confirmation TAIPED’s executive director, Andreas Taprantzis, announced his resignation.
Taprantzis held this position for three years. He was a rare example of continuity at the senior management level of the Greek privatisation agency. Since its inception in mid-2011, HRADF has had a constant turnover in the position of chairperson and/or chief executive officer.
What does this coming and going tell us about the state of play in the Greek privatisation process? What should potential foreign investors make of the fact that they have to adjust their senior contact list of TAIPED management on a yearly basis? Why is the privatisation process fraught with political controversies, a lack of public support in large parts of Greek society and subject to ever-increasing administrative delays and judicial objections?
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**Jens Bastian is an independent economic consultant and investment analyst for southeast Europe. From 2011 to 2013 he was a member of the European Commission Task Force for Greece in Athens. He is a regular contributor to The Agora section of Macropolis. Follow Jens on Twitter: @Jens_Bastian