ATHENS – Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ hopes to lure more major investors got a boost on June 25 when American giants IBM and Dow Chemical said they would expand their operations after top company officials met with him.
The two multinational giants agreed that Dow will also utilize IBM’s service center in Athens as a base from which to offer electronic support concerning its global activities.
This deal involves the new center that IBM created in Greece with the purpose of supplying big data and business analytics support to its multinational clients.
The agreement came after Samaras met with someone he knows well, Dow’s CEO Andrew Liveris, and with IBM’s General Manager for Europe, Rich Hume, in the Premier’s office.
On leaving, Liveris hailed the deal and was particularly encouraging regarding the course of the Greek economy: “We have witnessed a change in Greece. We have seen a recovery of confidence and credibility. We have seen liquidity return,” he said, praising the prime minister’s role in this direction. “We could have chosen any place in the world, any place in Europe, but we have chosen Greece,” he said.
Hume wouldn’t provide details about the agreement with Dow in terms of new jobs, the size of the investment or other information, but market analysts said while there will be few new jobs that they will be high-profile executive positions and for professionals.
They are expected to be for information technology experts, mathematicians and statisticians. The size of the deal is only known by the two partners.
But the collaboration between two of America’s biggest business powers and with the IBM service center at the headquarters of its Greek subsidiary, it could become a global competition focal point. IBM already has such centers in locations such as Berlin, Beijing, Dallas, London, New York, Tokyo, Washington, and Zurich.
IBM Chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty said Dow and IBM will benefit from the innovation stemming from the new generation of talent and high specialization available in Greece.
“We look forward to the opportunity to contribute to the implementation of Dow’s market-driven strategy,” Rometty said.
Liveris, who speaks Greek, spoke English when detailing the meeting to reporters and praised what he said is a comeback. “We’ve always understood the talents and capabilities of the Greek people and, of course, Greece’s crisis of last five years has been a pretty dramatic one and, of course, investment is what Greece needs for its future. “
Liveris, who grew up in Australia and is one of the world’s top CEOs, noted he has been working closely with Samaras and said, “We have seen a change in Greece. We’ve seen a restoration of confidence and credibility; we’ve seen liquidity come back.”
He said the service delivery center, which will create valuable jobs and that, “It’s the beginning of supply change for big companies to recognize the talents of Greece and the people of Greece.”
He said that “is really creating a pro business, pro market environment. The people of Greece have been through a lot in the last five years. They deserve a better economy and a better environment then what they have gone through. I hope this is a signal that if you build the right market environment, companies will come.
Hume noted that IBM has been in Greece since 1937 and that “we as well see great talent and opportunity here. In April of this year we announced a big data and analytics capability. This is the emerging part of the technology industry. Now we have the opportunity to partner with Dow to grow our capability here in Greece.”