Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Former PM Living in Parallel Universe

"Dear great, extremely smart and all knowing journalists. I sincerely ask you to leave me along and to stop looking for something for me to do." This is how former Polish prime minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz starts his latest blog entry (in Polish). Frustrated? A little.

Looks like his successor and party boss Jaroslaw Kaczynski has come to his senses and decided no to squeeze the supervisory board at Eastern Europe's largest bank PKO BP to appoint Marcinkiewicz its new chief executive.

That is a smart move, considering the fact that Marcinkiewicz's appointment could ultimately be rejected by the banking supervisor because of his scant financial experience. This could erase any remaining credibility of the politically appointed supervisory board.

And this is where Marcinkiewicz enters a parallel universe. In his blog he writes that in the recent months he has not spoken to any members of PKO's supervisory board (except for its chair who is now the interim chief executive) nor any member of the banking oversight body. He adds: "So stop writing about political pressure because you're undermining my good name."

Whoa. Stop writing about political pressure? Which universe is Marcinkiewicz living in??? How else can you explain the fact that Marcinkiewicz is in any way being considered a serious candidate to run the country's biggest financial institution? How did this former physics teacher land a job as an adviser to the interim CEO? What else would explain talks about Marcinkiewicz taking another top post at a state-controlled company, like the oil group Lotos? [Marcinkiewicz says he does not plan to move outside of Warsaw, while Lotos is headquartered in Gdansk]

At least on the PKO side things are looking a little more sane. After a resignation of one of the more credible members of the supervisory board the competition for the top spot has been suspended. According to Gazeta Wyborcza, people close to Marcinkiewicz say his chances of running PKO are close to nil. Whew! For now.

UPDATE: The speaker of the lower chamber Marek Jurek said on the radio that Marcinkiewicz should be the head of PKO BP, but quickly added that the supervisory board should make its own decision. Nope, no political pressure here.

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