Saturday, January 7, 2006

governments and management teams in state owned companies need to be innovative, as well

Thursday evening. We just finished a discussion on the next stage of privatization of Telekom Slovenije (TS) on the national radio station (Studio ob 1700, RTV Slovenia). The government is getting ready to sell its majority stake. I was surprised how little self confidence in our own understanding of the current time, conditions and opportunities evolving from that, the government and the rest of the actors really have. Not being part of the telecom sector for a while, I was trying to offer different views and raise issues that should be accounted for when thinking about selling: why do we want to sell... the only argument presented was, that we (as a state) can not manage the company well?! Funny, the country that is an example of a success in EU, with many successful globalize companies, has no management team for TS? What kind of consequences the sell to an EU telecom operator can have? The government sees only step one effect... what about the step two… why do we search for a strategic partner only in the telecom industry, why do we consider only partners on the ownership level? TS is in a transaction business... let's be innovative and ask ourselves who can maximize development potentials of TS most, who can be really interested in knowledge and value add activities at TS after the sell? Insurance companies, banks, content providers, retailers, game and/or entertainment industry? What about strategic partnerships on a business and research level? Do we really need a strategic partner on a capital/financial level? At least the state should be able to thing within a long term concept and specially if as an owner, do not need the immediate money (as they claim), they should show interest and willingness to think in a more complex terms and be opened for more advanced business models that would allow Slovenia to continue developing the high end jobs that are able to create high value
and bring the overall social platform to a higher level... Now a days governments and management teams in state owned companies need to be innovative, as well. The easiest thing to do is to blame it on »we are bad managers« and sell the golden goose for that purpose...

2 comments:

Sinisa said...

The prime function of each country is to serve it’s citizens. I believe that function is in a direct conflict with the function of being a competent owner of a company. What is best for Telekom isn’t what is best for an average Slovene. For example, having strong competition is a bad thing for Telekom, but not for the citizens of this country.

However, I 100% agree with the fact that the argument “we can not manage the company well” is rubbish; the problem is “we” can manage it better than anyone else (great players + ability to change the rules of the game).

I strongly believe this country should focus on creating “good rules for the game” (=high quality legislation) instead of wasting time on situations when it’s sitting on two chairs.

Violeta said...

along those lines, whenever we talk about companies… their primary goal is to optimase the use of the capital engaged (intelectual, financil, material), how and(or for which project the value add is used depends on the ownership structure… in any case, it needs to be managed well and that is the case for TS, as well… I hope that philosophy of an high tech and well connected/networked TS with development programs will prevail…