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Government approves independent CEOs for state railway monopoly, postal operator

20.04.2016 |

The Ukrainian government appointed new chief executives for the giant state railway network operator, Ukrzaliznytsia, and state postal service Ukrposhta.

Polish citizen Wojciech Balczun became CEO of Ukrzaliznytsia, which has 350,000 employees and provides service that is used by almost everyone in Ukraine.

Balczun overhauled his native countrys largest railway freight carrier, PKP Cargo,reorganizedits management system, optimized personnel number, and prepared the company for an initial public offering in October 2013. During his five years in office from 2008 to 2013, Balczun turned PKP Cargo round from making a $26-million annual loss to a company earning more than $130 million annual profit (in 2011).

He is also planning to employ the experience in Ukraine.

"I want to create a team which will maintain the course to changes, Balczun said during a Cabinet of Ministers meeting on April 20 presided over for the first time by Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman. Primarily it should be comprised of Ukrzaliznytsia workers because it is they who have most knowledge.

Igor Smelyansky, a native of Odesa, became the CEO of Ukrposhta. He has 17 years of strategic management and financial consulting experience in big Western companies such as Boston Consulting and KPMG.

Smelyansky said that Ukrposhta can become a platform for e-commerce.

"Different countries solve the problem of strategy differently, unfortunately, postal entities across the world are experiencing a crisis period, because the volumes of correspondence are falling, except for the parcels volume, which is growing in the e-commerce sector, he told ministers.

Smelyansky is also planning to add more finance services by creating a postal bank and use its funds to finance small and medium businesses which can grow on the Ukrposhta platform.

The two managers were elected by an independent commission comprised of government and international organizations representatives as well as headhunters from among 79 candidates.

Hiring CEOs in open competitions is a radical break from tradition in Ukraine, where state-owned companies have been run as cash cows for the political elites ever since the country gained independence in 1991.

Under the control of political appointees, state enterprises generated private profits -- and even took massive state subsidies -- rather than generating revenue for the state budget.

Kyiv Post staff writer Olena Savchuk can be reached at

Source:Kyiv Post

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