September 28, 2013 / 1:38 PM / in 5 years

Greece nominates new privatization agency chief, third in seven months

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece has nominated a new chairman for its privatization agency HRADF a month after his predecessor was dismissed, the finance ministry said on Saturday.

Constantine Maniatopoulos was chosen to lead an organization where asset sale delays and shortfalls in targeted revenues have caused headaches for Greece’s international lenders overseeing the country’s 240 billion euro ($325.00 billion) bailout program. Maniatopoulos, head of state real estate agency ETAD, will be HRADF’s third chairman in seven months. A parliamentary committee still has to approve his appointment formally, the finance ministry said.

Resignations at HRADF have been a setback to efforts by Athens to push through an ambitious reform and privatization program to meet bailout targets that are key to the country’s debt sustainability.

Thomas Wieser, who heads the Eurogroup Working Group that does preparatory work ahead of decisions by euro zone finance ministers, told Greek newspaper Realnews the privatization program had to be re-energized.

“There are delays in the privatizations program very often. In the first bailout, estimates were very optimistic. If we want results now, there must be a serious re-activation of momentum,” Wieser was quoted as saying. He did not mention Maniatopoulos’ appointment.

Greece dismissed previous chairman, Stelios Stavridis, in August after a newspaper reported he had used the private plane of a businessman who had just acquired a state company to go on holiday.

Stavridis’s predecessor, Takis Athanasopoulos, stepped down after he was charged by a prosecutor with breach of duty over his former role as chairman of a state utility.

Maniatopoulos, 72, has an engineering background and is a board member at think tank IOBE. He has previously chaired the board at Greece’s biggest port, Piraeus (OLP) (OLPr.AT), and worked for the European Commission’s Energy department.

Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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