Polish PM rejects calls for dismissal of oil firm CEO

Przemysław Piątkowski/PAP

Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, has dismissed opposition calls for the dismissal of Daniel Obajtek from the post of PKN Orlen CEO owing to his plans to sell off some assets to Hungarian petroleum company MOL.

Cezary Tomczyk, an MP from the main opposition party Civic Platform (PO), has appealed to the prime minister to fire Obajtek over his plans to sell 417 petrol stations owned by PKN Orlen's domestic peer Lotos, which Orlen seeks to acquire.

Tomczyk branded the plans as "stupidity" and "a violation of Poland's strategic interests."

Some Polish politicians accuse MOL of having strong connections with Moscow. They argue the sales of Polish assets to the Hungarian company could in effect be counterproductive to the government's attempts to gain independence from Russian energy sources.

Tomczyk said on Thursday morning that "the prime minister should take responsibility for these idiotic decisions which will affect Poland's security."

But Morawiecki said later on Thursday that Obajtek deserved "a very good medal" for building "a huge multi-energy concern" in Poland. According to the prime minister, this allowed PKN Orlen to make cheaper purchases of oil on foreign markets.

"CEO Obajtek carries out complicated mergers and acquisitions on international markets and strengthens the Polish conglomerate," Morawiecki said.

In January, the European Commission agreed to the Orlen-Lotos merger under some conditions, which include the sale of a stake in a Lotos refinery, a sell-off of most Lotos petrol stations and of a fuel depot.