UniCredit to Pick Andrea Orcel as New CEO--Update
By Giovanni Legorano and Patricia Kowsmann
Andrea Orcel, one of Europe's best-known bankers, has been
picked to lead Italy's UniCredit SpA, according to a person
familiar with the process, marking a surprise comeback amid his
continuing legal fight with Spanish lender Banco Santander SA.
The pick, which still needs to be approved by the board, ends a
monthslong search during which the bank scrambled to find a
replacement for Frenchman Jean Pierre Mustier, who in November said
he would step down after a rift with the board over future
For Mr. Orcel, the appointment represents a return following a
very public clash with Santander and its powerful executive
chairman, Ana Botin, who in 2018 offered Mr. Orcel the CEO post
only to cancel it months later. Mr. Orcel is suing the bank for
EUR100 million, equivalent of $121 million.
Mr. Orcel had been keen on getting the UniCredit job, flying
frequently to Italy from London over the past weeks to lobby for
the position, according to people familiar with the situation.
Mr. Orcel couldn't be reached for comment. A UniCredit spokesman
declined to comment.
His appointment comes at a key time for the bank.
The coronavirus pandemic and a prolonged period of negative
interest-rates are forcing banks in Europe to take a close look at
their strategies. Last year, Italian rival Intesa Sanpaolo SpA took
over UBI Banca SpA, overtaking UniCredit as Italy's largest bank by
assets in the process.
UniCredit's board is eager to bulk up through acquisitions,
including by potentially acquiring Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena
SpA, Italy's perennial banking trouble spot, which was nationalized
in 2017 and needs to be reprivatized by next year. Mr. Mustier
resisted the idea. He also clashed with the board on a project he
defended to split the bank's domestic and foreign operations to
insulate its businesses in Germany from Italian-sovereign
Write to Giovanni Legorano at firstname.lastname@example.org and
Patricia Kowsmann at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 26, 2021 12:29 ET (17:29 GMT)
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