SARIO boss dismissed

ECONOMY and Construction Minister Juraj Miškov (SaS) has recently dismissed the heads of several state institutions controlled by his ministry. The ministry said the dismissals will allow it to appoint what it calls “first-rate professionals”, picked through competitive selection, to lead the institutions.

ECONOMY and Construction Minister Juraj Miškov (SaS) has recently dismissed the heads of several state institutions controlled by his ministry. The ministry said the dismissals will allow it to appoint what it calls “first-rate professionals”, picked through competitive selection, to lead the institutions.

Róbert Šimončič, who had served as the director-general of the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO) for just a few weeks, was the first to be recalled. He was provisionally replaced by Andrea Gulová, who until now has led SARIO’s section for direct foreign investments, the SARIO website states. However, ministry spokesperson Robert Merva told the ČTK newswire that if Šimončič succeeds in the selection process, he may return to the post.

The minister also recalled Milan Jankura from his post as director of the National Agency for Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, and the same fate awaits Martin Vavřínek, director of the Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency.

The ministry plans to pick the next directors of these institutions by using a competitive selection process.

“Our goal is to get into these agencies the best people, by which we do not cast doubt on their professional knowledge and abilities,” Merva said.

Šimončič, who was previously the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia and had led Microsoft Dynamics’ central and eastern Europe division, had been in his position at SARIO for only two months. Shortly before the June parliamentary election he replaced Juraj Kiesel in the post. Kiesel was reported to be departing to serve as a diplomat in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

According to the Hospodárske Noviny daily, Šimončič has a reputation as an excellent manager amongst businessmen as well as investors.

The Economy Ministry said it expects Šimončič to re-apply for his old job. But businesspeople, according to Hospodárske Noviny, do not regard the rapid turnover in SARIO’s top post in a positive light.

“Such changes do not do any good to SARIO and do not enable it to operate effectively either,” said Markus Halt, spokesperson for the Slovak-German Chamber of Commerce.

Slovakia attracted foreign direct investment totalling €244.43 million last year via SARIO. Compared with 2008 this represented a drop of over 50 percent.

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