Quest for new PKP SA chairman over

by

Maria Wasiak stays in post.

Maria Wasiak. Photo PKP SA.

At an extraordinary general meeting of PKP SA shareholders held earlier today Maria Wasiak was appointed chairman of PKP SA. Ms Wasiak has been working as ‘acting chairman’ of PKP SA since 30 December 2010, following the dismissal of the previous incumbent, Andrzej Wach by the new Deputy Minister responsible for Poland’s railways, Andrzej Massel. Ms Wasiak will share the duties for which she has been responsible up to now with Romuald Bosakowski, who was appointed a board member today.

Ms Wasiak hails from Radom and studied law at Warsaw University and management at the School of Economics in Poznan. She was involved in local politics and became the Deputy Chief Executive of the Radom District Council in 1998 from where she moved to the political office of Tadeusz Syryjczyk, the Minister of Transport. She is seen as politically connected to Civic Platform, Poland’s governing party.

She joined PKP in 2000 in the role of ‘Project Director’. In 2001, she was promoted to the position of chairman of the PKP subsidiary responsible for regional services, PKP Przewozy Regionalne. In 2002, she became Head of PKP’s privatisation office. She was promoted to main board member with responsibility for ‘Promotion and Social Affairs’.

While some commentators regard the non-appointment of a suitably qualified ‘Rail Czar’ as a failure, it is unlikely that the Government, working through the Ministry of Infrastructure, looked very hard for an alternative. Maria Wasiak is seen as a safe pair of hands who will regard the privatisation of PKP SA’s assets as her top priority.

Her appointment and the ‘steady as she goes’ message that it conveys will have pleased the Ministry of Finance and received its tacit backing – the State Treasury controls the voting rights at PKP SA’s general meetings. A powerful external candidate may have upset the tacit understanding between the government, rail union bosses and top rail managers whereby everyone milks Poland’s railways for what they can and the network gradually decays until only a small core is left.

Less pleased will be PKP’s customers. Without fundamental changes to the way the railways are managed passengers will be left with even fewer overcrowded trains and with increasingly inaccurate and inadequate information. Freight operators will face rising rail access charges and deteriorating tracks. While wishing Ms Wasiak well with her appointment, we suspect that we will be continuing to be chronicling the decline of Poland’s railways for many more years to come.

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One Response to “Quest for new PKP SA chairman over”

  1. Colin Mansell Says:

    I agree that the trains are getting more and more overcrowded. It is like British Rail when it was privatised. My friend and I are both disappointed at the way PKP is going.

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