Tusk's aide resigns new job after cronyism outcry

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish oil company PKN Orlen said Friday that an aide to the country's former Prime Minister Donald Tusk has resigned from his new job following a storm over his appointment.

The appointment Wednesday of Igor Ostachowicz, Tusk's image adviser for seven years, to PKN Orlen's management board generated controversy as some critics suspected Tusk was behind the decision. The government holds a stake in the oil company and appoints one of the board members.

Tusk is set to become the head of the European Commission on Dec. 1. He stepped down as prime minister along with his government earlier this month.

The apparent lack of transparency in Ostachowicz's appointment and the job's hefty salary of around 2 million zlotys ($610,000) led opposition parties to accuse Tusk of cronyism.

The new prime minister, Ewa Kopacz, intervened and PKN Orlen said Friday that Ostachowicz had resigned, citing his "concern for the interest of the public company due to the controversy sparked by his appointment." It said Ostachowicz will receive no payment from the company, where he spent just two days.

Tusk said that prior to his job in the government Ostachowicz had experience in the energy sector but admitted that the move "looked bad."