Sunday, May 03, 2009

Kalvītis named to Lattelecom board

Former prime minister Aigars Kalvītis  of the People's Party (TP) was named as one of three new member of Lattelecom's board, as earlier predicted by Latvian media. He is likely to be made chairman of the board.
The ex-politician (whose government is blamed for ignoring warnings of economic overheating) will earn a salary of around 100 000 LVL, around what outgoing chairman Gundars Strautmanis, a telecommunications profession, earned.
Also named to the board were Jānis Bergs, the head of FMS, a Latvian enterprise management software company and an IT professional as well as Uģis Zemturis, a former banker.
Of the three appointments, Kalvītis is a purely political gesture under pressure from the government coalition partner, the TP. The former prime minister has business experience in dairy farming. With the TP enjoying "popularity" of around 1.7 %, the appointment is generating a huge public uproar (nearly 1000 comments on the portal). In times of austerity, the granting of what appears to be a huge "political pension" to 43-year-old Kalvitis is seen as a example of the complete political insensitivity and "friendship corruption" (looking after our folks/savējie) by the political elite.
The appointment will also bring public attention back to Lattelecom after a period of quiet when the once-monopoly "Great Satan" of telecommunications in Latvia has built up a good, relatively low-key reputation and stayed out of controversial headlines about privatization models and the like. It will cast an unncessary aura of political corruption over what should be a company running like a competitive private enterprise judged by its service to customers.

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