Govt appoints new CEO of key defence company

The Ukrainian government on Wednesday appointed Herman Smetanin CEO of Ukrainian Defence Industry JSC, a company that is being established to replace Ukroboronprom, the state defence conglomerate.

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Born in 1993, Mr Smetanin has nine years of experience in the defence industry, the Ukrainian strategic industries ministry said in a statement.

Since December 2022, he has been director of the Malyshev tank factory, and before that led the Kharkiv armoured plant. He also worked as production director of the Malyshev factory and was chief designer of the Lviv armoured plant.

Strategic industries minister Oleksandr Kamyshin said that Mr Smetanin’s main focus should be on multiplying the production of ammunition and military equipment.

"There are three main tasks: to increase the production of ammunition and military equipment, to build an effective anti-corruption infrastructure in the company and to transform Ukroboronprom," Mr Kamyshin posted.

Mr Smetanin is appointed CEO of Ukrainian Defence Industry until a supervisory board is formed and a competition for the position is held.

The corporatisation of Ukroboronprom, envisaged by a law passed back in 2021, means the company will act as a corporate centre responsible for transforming its member companies and attracting investment.

In March, the government made a formal decision to transform Ukroboronprom into a joint-stock company.

However, even after the publication of the resolution, the reform did not begin, since the former CEO of Ukroboronprom, Yurii Husiev, had no authority to register a new joint-stock company.