President of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides has revealed the names of his cabinet before his swearing-in ceremony. Business executive George Papanastasiou is replacing Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry Natasa Pilides while Petros Xenophontos is taking over the agriculture, rural development and environment portfolios.
A new government is being formed in Cyprus after new President Nikos Christodoulides won the runoff vote against Andreas Mavroyiannis on February 12. Campaigning as an independent candidate, the island country’s leader promised to skip prominent members from the parties that supported him in the pick.
Christodoulides unveiled the names a day before swearing in. He was the minister of foreign affairs from 2018 to 2022.
New Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry George Papanastasiou worked 26 years for oil giant BP in Cyprus, the United Kingdom and other countries. Among other positions, he was the country head for Cyprus. He is taking over from Natasa Pilides.
George Papanastasiou is becoming a minister after heading the Cypriot subsidiary of VTTI, a multinational energy and chemical storage firm based in the Netherlands, for more than a decade
Papanastasiou earned mechanical engineering at the Higher Technical Institute of Cyprus and the City University London and a master’s degree at Kings College London. Since 2011, after BP, he was the managing director and general manager of VTT Vasiliko, a subsidiary of Netherlands-based energy and chemical storage provider VTTI.
New Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment Petros Xenophontos has headed the Government Printing Office and State Purchasing and Procurement Services and other positions in the Ministry of Finance for the last couple of years. He also worked in the government’s road transportation department and a computer science professor.