UniCredit Appoints Jean-Pierre Mustier to Help Steer Bank Out of Doldrums

Jean-Pierre Mustier succeeds Federico Ghizzoni as the Chief Executive at UniCredit.

UniCredit has shuffled its top ranks, adding French investment banker Jean-Pierre Mustier as its new Chief Executive, following a unanimous board endorsement – he will step into the new role on July 11, according to a recent Reuters report.

UniCredit is Italy’s largest bank by assets and one of the key players in the European financial realm. The decision to appoint Mustier was reflective of his past roles, which saw him serve as the head of banking divisions across both Societe Generale and UniCredit.

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His ascension into UniCredit’s top role also marks the end of a five-week speculation that saw the bank navigating forward without a more permanent head. Previously, Federico Ghizzoni had stepped down amidst enormous pressure from investors that had been expressing dissatisfaction. The financial woes faced by UniCredit are not particular to the bank, nor even the Italian banking sector, but rather to the global industry. From New York to London, big banks have been facing diving profit margins and reduced revenues.

Mr. Mustier formally worked at UniCredit as its Head of Corporate and Investment Banking, having left to work at boutique asset manager, Tikehau over a year ago. He couldn’t be stepping into a more taxing role however, as he will be responsible for righting the ship, as UniCredit has convulsed unevenly during 2016. After losing -63.0% of its share value already this year, the bank has lingering concerns over its capital, governance, and strategy. Compounding this issue is up to €80 billion in bad loans as well for the bank.

According to Johan De Mulder, a Bernstein analyst, in a recent statement on the appointment and possible shifting of leadership: “A credible CEO will surely ‘kitchen sink’ and raise capital, and potentially sell assets.”

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