The Slovenia Times

Govt Appoints New Directors at BAMC, Cuts Pay



The government selected former chairman of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange Marko Simoneti, banker Imre Balogh and businessman Janez Širovnik for the three non-executive director posts at BAMC.

It was unclear immediately which three non-executive directors had been replaced. The BAMC board had four non-executive directors: Lars Nyberg, Carl-Johan Lindgren, Arne Berggren and Mitja Mavko.

The government decided to make the replacements only a day after the Court of Audit publicly said it had found a multitude of shortcomings in the operations of the bad bank in 2013.

"We expect that the new non-executive directors will provide for the efficient operations of BAMC and to fix the shortcomings that were found by the Court of Audit and the Corruption Prevention Commission," Cerar said following the 10-hour cabinet session.

Pressure has mounted on the government to act since the end of last year, when the Corruption Prevention Commission was the first to report on alleged irregularities at BAMC in 2013.

The anti-graft body pointed to high pay and risks for conflict of interest in hiring of contractors in its report.

In response to the findings from the two watchdogs, the government also decided to amend the remuneration policy at BAMC with which it cut pay of the directors.

"Pay for board members has been cut significantly and brought into line with what would be considered normal criteria," said Cerar.

The pay of non-executive directors has been halved to EUR 5,000 a month, while that of executive directors has been limited to EUR 10,000, which is half the maximum envisaged under previous rules.

The new pay policy will apply to new staff, said Finance Minister Dušan Mramor, who added that agreement had been reached with existing board members on pay cuts.

Chief executive director Torbjörn Mansson is among those who has accepted a pay cut, but his salary will remain above the new pay rules at EUR 17,000, said Mramor.

The minister also announced that the government confirmed the annual report of BAMC for 2013 today but did not issue a discharge to the board.

He added that the government was planning to amend the bank rescue act as part of which it will extend the operations of BAMC until 2022 in line with requests from the bad bank.

The government meanwhile decided to repeat the call for applications for supervisors of the Slovenia Sovereign Holding (SSH) due to "omissions" by the staffing commission which handled the applications.

Cerar said that the decision had been taken by the government to avoid controversy in the appointment of the five supervisors. He did not provide more detail of the established omissions.

Finance Minister Dušan Mramor admitted that repeating the call represented a setback in efforts to fill the management bodies of the SSH, but added that he agreed with some of the concerns raised by cabinet members today.

Mramor reportedly wanted to tweak the list of five names handed to him by the staffing commission, but Cerar said the decision had been taken to repeat the whole procedure.

Both Cerar and Mramor denied speculation that the marathon session was a result of far-reaching differences in the cabinet. The length of the session had even prompted some media to speculate of "a state of emergency" in the government.

Pointing to a large file of papers that comprised documents for the session, Mramor said that the government had an extensive agenda.

Echoing this, Cerar said that the government was dealing "with make-or-break decisions". "This takes time. We decided to get through these issues at today's session and not to delay because these are issues that are crucial for the future of Slovenia and its citizens," said the prime minister.

He also denied that there was a split in the coalition, saying that the session had passed in "a positive atmosphere".


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