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Greece names ex-business leaders to run state holding fund

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece has picked two former business leaders to run the fund it set up last year to speed up privatizations and make the best use of the country's assets to comply with its international bailout.

Athens was meant to appoint the board of directors for the fund, which will oversee the country's privatization agency (HRADF) and its bank rescue fund (HFSF), and have it fully operational by the end of last year.

Greece and its lenders did agree a five-member supervisory board for the privatization and investment fund in October and this has now appointed George Diamantopoulos, former Chief Executive at Kraft Foods in Greece, as chairman.

Rania Aikaterinari, an engineer and former deputy CEO at Greece's dominant power utility Public Power Corp. <DEHr.AT>, is taking over as Chief Executive Officer, the fund said on Friday.

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Privatizations, a key pillar of Greece's bailouts, have raised little so far since the country's first international rescue in 2010 due to political resistance, red tape and a strongly-unionized public sector.

Proceeds from will be used to reduce the country's debt, which at 180 percent of GDP is the highest in the eurozone, and boost investments.

The board members will have a four-year term, while its full composition will be announced next week.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Alexander Smith)