Poland’s state-owned giants cope with unprecedented turnover

FOR 17 YEARS the state-owned stud farm in Janow Podlaski in eastern Poland has hosted the “Pride of Poland” auction. In its heyday Arabian horses strutted around a grassy track, tempting foreign buyers into eye-popping bids. In 2016 the new government replaced the stud’s long-standing boss with an inexperienced newcomer. In his first two months two horses died, prompting media headlines; the new boss was ousted. Last year the auction brought in only a tenth of what it made before the changes. The next boss was also sacked.

Executive turnover is not restricted to Janow Podlaski. Since coming to power three years ago, the populist Law and Justice (PiS) party has swept the stables at state-owned enterprises (SOEs) with Herculean energy. The 30 most “strategic”, as defined by the government, have been run by over 100 bosses during the period; average tenure now stands at just under a year. According to an analysis of over 20 big SOEs...



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