Ex-PM named candidate to lead Latvian gas giant

The former Prime Minister Aigars Kalvītis did not reveal whether he's a candidate for becoming the CEO of the natural gas utility Latvijas Gāze (LG). Meanwhile, deputy chairman of the LG council Juris Savickis said that Kalvītis is a serious candidate, so it would seem there's little doubt about his candidacy. 

Kalvītis told BNS on Thursday that the contest for the office is still ongoing so he cannot confirm the rumors about him taking the lead over LG. The outgoing chairman Adrians Dāvis will leave the company in mid-August. 

Savickis, on the other hand, said that even though the names of the candidates are a commercial secret, as the Minister of the Economy had already revealed Kalvītis as a candidate, there's no point in hiding it. There are five to six people seeking office as CEO of LG as of now, and they will be reviewed at a meeting of the LG council on August 14. 

Savickis had previously told that both local and foreign experts are considered for the post.

In a Thursday interview to LNT television, Minister of the Economy Dana Reizniece-Ozola said that she has heard rumors that Kalvītis will be the next chairman of the LG board, referring to talks she had heard in the US where the minister went on a work visit two weeks ago. 

Latvijas Gāze is a natural gas company that deals in the imports, transmission, storage and sales of natural gas. It holds the monopoly of the natural gas market in Latvia. The company is owned by E.ON Ruhrgas International AG (47.2%), AAS Gazprom (34%) and SIA "Itera-Latvija" (16%).

The company closed 2014 with turnover of €500million and a profit of €32m, employing 1,255 people last year.

Kalvītis served as Prime Minister of Latvia from 2004 to 2007, leading two cabinets. He resigned in 2007 after encountering widespread opposition to his dismissal of the head of the anti-corruption bureau, Aleksejs Loskutovs.

Later in the day, energy expert Reinis Āboltiņš told BNS that making Kalvītis CEO would be a bit sketchy, as he has had too warm - and widely publicized - relations with Russian Gazprom, which is both the only source of gas for the company, as well as one of the largest shareholders. That's why Āboltiņš worries whether making Kalvītis CEO of LG would interfere with the planned liberalization of the Latvian gas market.

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