POLAND - Mirosław Panek, a vice-chairman and member of the PZU executive responsible for finances, has resigned his post after 10 months.

His is the latest in a series of convulsions in the top management of the PZU Group, Poland's former monopoly insurance company, which is still the market's largest player and includes Poland's third-largest pension fund, PTE PZU.

Recent days have also seen parliament's treasury committee call for the resignation of PZU chairman Jaromir Netzel and Jolanta Strzelecka, another vice-chairman, resigned at the weekend .

Earlier this year, the CEO of PTE PZU, Piotr Rzeniczak, resigned after only a few months in the job.

Netzel was appointed to the chairmanship in May 2006 and Strzelecka the following month.

The parliamentary committee's demand for Netzel's resignation has to be endorsed by prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski. The committee said its main concerns were strategic direction of the PZU and its operational processes.

"Netzel's appointment was very controversial," a long-time observer of the Polish financial scene told IPE.

"It was greeted, with protests by the financial sector, as at the time he had some unresolved legal issues. It was also noted that he had no qualifications for running an insurance company and had no financial experience."

But the political aspect means that it is far from certain that he will go, claims the source.

"That job is never kept very long by anyone. The chairmanship is a political not a management role. People who know what they are doing in terms of running the business are a layer further down," the observer noted.

Strzelecka's departure came after what is said to have been a clash with Netzel over bonuses to be paid to come of his executives, according to an industry source.

"There is a lack of transparency about the group which makes it very difficult to assess what is really going on," said another source. "Nobody in the market knows who is control [of PZU] at this moment."

Netzel last month announced PZU was planning to open a division in London. It already has an insurance operation in Ukraine and an insurer and pension company in Lithuania.