Eyal Gabbai Tapped to Head Prime Minister's Office

Former director of Government Companies Authority oversaw major privatization measures.

Eyal Gabbai, former director of the Government Companies Authority, is expected to be appointed director general of the Prime Minister's Office this week, replacing Ra'anan Dinur in the post.

Once this position is filled, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be able to relax a little, secure in the knowledge that he has a full complement of senior economic advisers. The other members of this team are former Finance Ministry budgets director Uri Yogev, who is chairman of the new National Economics Council's advisory committee, and Prof. Manuel Trachtenberg, the head of that council.

This will be Gabbai's third stint working with Netanyahu. In 1998-1999, during Netanyahu's first term as premier, Gabbai, now 42, was director of economic affairs in the Prime Minister's Office. In 2003-2005, when Netanyahu served as finance minister under prime minister Ariel Sharon, Gabbai was director of the Government Companies Authority.

Gabbai has an MBA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he also did his undergraduate work. Before being appointed head of the Government Companies Authority in 2002, he served as assistant to the chairman of the Knesset Economics Committee and senior legal adviser to the justice minister (Tzachi Hanegbi). In 1999 he was VP of business and international development at Bezeq International.

Gabbai is considered one of the more successful directors of the companies authority, having overseen the privatization of companies such as El Al airlines, Bezeq, and Oil Refineries Haifa and Ashdod, as well as the introduction of structural changes in both the ports and the Railway Authority.

The decision to appoint Gabbai to head up the PMO reflects the importance of economic issues to Netanyahu.