The Hellenic Corporation of Assets and Participations (HCAP) was established two years ago, with a goal, amongst others, to make state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in its portfolio more efficient and to ensure transparency, independence and accountability in their governance. In doing so, Boards of Directors must operate professionally and independently and must ensure implementation of best corporate governance practices as well as implementation of a business strategy for growth, operational efficiency and better financial performance. Transformation and culture change starts from the top, that’s why strong Boards are important, with a clear mission and strategy, which will be assessed against specific targets and performance indicators.
As such, HCAP believes that the level of corporate governance and information disclosure that govern HCAP and its subsidiaries, should be at least equivalent to that of listed companies. It also believes that well-functioning boards require proper staffing of Boards and Boards’ Committees with high caliber professionals and with clear separation of the role of the executive members from the non-executive ones. Internal audit and compliance functions must also have a clear mandate, being independent and ensure non-conflict at all levels of the organization. Diversity is equally important for inclusive leadership and sustainability.
In accomplishing the above targets, HCAP has proceeded with the adjustment of the Articles of Association of the SOEs in line with the provisions of Greek corporate Law on societe anonymes. Also HCAP, for the first time in Greece, has proceeded with the assessment of the Boards of Directors of the SOEs in its portfolio.
A number of board assessment has already been completed while other are in progress. In parallel, following the screening, selection and evaluation of hundreds of professional candidates, HCAP has appointed up to date 28 board members (22 non-executive and 6 executives /CEOs) in 7 Boards through open, professional and transparent procedures.
Particular focus was given to the Audit Committees, with 6 Chairs of Audit Committees already being selected and appointed, while the appointment of the Chairs of the remaining Committees will be completed soon.
It is important to highlight that the big majority of the newly appointed board members has long professional experience of more than 20 years in the private and /or wider public sector, having driven successful business initiatives and managed large teams and operations in Greek or abroad. The selection was made with focus on dynamic and motivational professionals who understand how to manage risks, how to motivate people and how to implement change, including innovation and a customer-centric approach. They are also professionals who collectively bring together skills and experiences (coming from different sectors like financial services, advisory, services, engineering, manufacturing, IT /technology, real estate, hospitality, etc.) in order to ensure stronger governance and extroversion. A few of the new Board Members also come from the Greek academic community, all Professors, highly respected in their area of expertise. In terms of academic background, it is interesting to note that 90% of the newly appointed BoD members hold a Master’s and/or a PhD degree in Engineering, Finance, Economics and Business Administration from reputable Greek or foreign universities.
HCAP believes that only by promoting strong leadership, the transformation needed in the public sector can be effected. As such, Boards should be professional and independent and their management should undertake clear duties and performance targets for
which they will be set responsible.