(Bloomberg Opinion) -- In Europe’s embattled banking industry, few chief executive officers can claim to have made as meaningful a mark on their business as Jean Pierre Mustier at UniCredit SpA. Unfortunately for him, running a national banking champion — especially during a pandemic, and especially in Italy — also requires a high degree of political savvy.That Mustier’s future at UniCredit is coming to an abrupt end doesn’t say much about his plans for the lender, nor his abilities; it is more about the role an increasingly interventionist Italy would like its banks to play.In his four years running the bank, the French CEO has dramatically reduced a mountain of bad debt, improved efficiency and sold non-core assets. Just before the pandemic hit, UniCredit was in good enough health to plan a significant boost to shareholder payouts, finally reaping the rewards of his turnaround. True, Mustier got rid of higher-growing businesses and burned through a massive capital raise. And the shares were still languishing, trailing behind its bigger Italian peer, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA. But his decisiveness and ability to deliver on financial targets had even attracted the attention of HSBC Holdings Plc, which considered Mustier as CEO. Surely the Italian lender should be bending over backward to keep him.And yet, as Mustier tries to revive the bank’s profitability after the shock of the pandemic, he finds that Italy’s Treasury and other parts of the government are the stakeholders he needs to please, not ordinary shareholders. Italy is eager for UniCredit to become a white knight for ailing Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, and Mustier — naturally enough — isn’t so keen. That has cost him his job. The CEO on Monday informed the bank he will leave in April citing a clash of opinion with the board on the firm's strategy.Taking over Monte Paschi is a distraction UniCredit could do without, even if it comes with a large state subsidy to cover the costs and any capital shortfall. The combination wouldn’t give UniCredit a better position in Lombardy, Italy’s economic engine. And it might get in the way if a more appealing international target came along. Strategically, the Italian bank would be better off buying Commerzbank AG, boosting its already considerable presence in Germany.But it’s becoming clear that the Italian state wants to put domestic considerations back at the heart of the bank’s strategy. The appointment last month of Pier Carlo Padoan, Italy’s finance minister at the time of Paschi’s nationalization, as UniCredit’s next chairman showed the direction of travel. As my colleague Ferdinando Giugliano has noted, Rome has been reversing a decades-long shift on letting the markets take care of its businesses, and is now pursuing a more interventionist approach.While this is troubling, there is also an argument that Mustier’s reluctance to grow the business in Italy could hurt strategically. Intesa’s purchase of smaller rival UBI Banca SpA has reinforced its dominant market share, hampering UniCredit’s ability to dictate prices and keep the best clients. France’s Credit Agricole SA is also buying a smaller Italian lender to bulk up in the country. Mustier’s insistence that the bank should shun domestic M&A for now may not pay off as the rest of the industry consolidates around him.For Mustier, running the bank purely for financial returns was always going to be difficult for an outsider. For investors, the hope must be that UniCredit doesn’t sacrifice talent for political aims at any cost.(The second and fifth paragraphs were updated to reflect the news that Mustier will leave Unicredit. )This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Elisa Martinuzzi is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering finance. She is a former managing editor for European finance at Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Commerzbank appointed a new board member to oversee the German lender's corporate business on Friday after his predecessor left over differences about the division's future, the bank said on Friday. Commerzbank said that Michael Kotzbauer, who joined the bank in 1990, will take over from Roland Boekhout, who joined the bank at the start of 2020 and was previously with the Dutch bank ING. The decision was taken at an extraordinary meeting of the bank's supervisory board on Friday.
DGAP-News: Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft / Key word(s): Miscellaneous27.11.2020 / 13:05 The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.- Roland Boekhout, Member of the Board of Managing Directors of Commerzbank responsible for the Corporate Clients segment, has offered a mutually agreed termination of his contract to the Supervisory Board. The Supervisory Board has today accepted such termination. Roland Boekhout's appointment to the Board of Managing Directors will end on 31 December 2020- He will be replaced by Michael Kotzbauer who will be appointed to the Board of Managing Directors from 1 January 2021 Roland Boekhout, Member of the Board of Managing Directors for the Corporate Clients segment, has offered a mutually agreed termination of his contract to the Supervisory Board. At its meeting today, the Supervisory Board of Commerzbank decided to accept the mutually agreed termination of Roland Boekhout's contract. Reason for it were differing views on the future set up of the corporate clients business. His appointment to the Board of Managing Directors will end on 31 December 2020.In the same meeting, the Supervisory Board decided to appoint Michael Kotzbauer, currently Divisional Board Member in the Corporate Clients segment responsible for Mittelstandsbank Central/East, as new Executive Board Member for Corporate Clients from 1 January 2021. His appointment is still subject to regulatory approval.Hans-Jörg Vetter, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Commerzbank, said: "Roland Boekhout has decided to leave Commerzbank due to differing views on the future set up of the corporate clients business. I would like to thank him for his openness and respect the consequence of his decision. I wish him all the best for his private and professional future. At the same time, I am glad to be able to ensure a seamless hand over of the segment to a veteran in the Corporate Clients business with a deep understanding of our clients needs. In particular, he is a proven expert in the business with the German Mittelstand, in which the bank has a leading position. I wish Michael every success for his new role."As of January 1, 2020, Roland Boekhout assumed responsibility for Commerzbank's corporate clients business. Prior to this, Roland Boekhout was a member of the Management Board Banking of the ING Group in the Netherlands and also served as CEO of ING in Germany from 2010 to 2017. Boekhout studied business administration at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and completed the general management program CEDEP at the INSEAD in Fontainebleau. After three years at Unilever in the Netherlands from 1988 to 1991, Roland Boekhout joined ING Group. There, his career saw him take up various management positions, including in the US, Poland and Mexico.Michael Kotzbauer began his career at Commerzbank in 1990 after studying business administration. Since 2017 he has been Divisional Board Member in the Corporate Clients segment responsible for Mittelstandsbank Central/East, which includes Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and the East German federal states including Berlin. Prior to this, he was Divisional Board Member responsible for the capital market-oriented business with large corporates in Southern and Eastern Germany until 2015. From 2010 to 2013, he was Regional Board Member for the corporate clients business in Asia located in Shanghai.Press contactMargarita Thiel +49 69 136-46646Maximilian Bicker +49 69 136-22440*****About Commerzbank Commerzbank is a leading international commercial bank with branches and offices in nearly 50 countries. The Bank's two business segments - Private and Small-Business Customers and Corporate Clients - offer a comprehensive portfolio of financial services precisely tailored to their customers' needs. Commerzbank transacts approximately 30% of Germany's foreign trade and is the market leader in German corporate banking. The Bank offers its sector expertise to its corporate clients in Germany and abroad and is a leading provider of capital market products. Its subsidiary mBank in Poland is an innovative digital bank. The integration of comdirect enables Commerzbank to combine the services of one of Germany's most advanced online banks with a personal advisory offering at local level. The Bank serves around 11.6 million private and small-business customers nationwide and over 70,000 corporate clients, multinationals, financial service providers, and institutional clients worldwide. Its Polish subsidiary mBank S.A. has around 5.7 million private and corporate customers, predominantly in Poland, but also in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In 2019, Commerzbank generated gross revenues of €8.6 billion with approximately 48,500 employees.27.11.2020 Dissemination of a Corporate News, transmitted by DGAP - a service of EQS Group AG.The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.The DGAP Distribution Services include Regulatory Announcements, Financial/Corporate News and Press Releases. Archive at www.dgap.de Language: English Company: Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft Kaiserstraße 16 60311 Frankfurt am Main Germany Phone: +49 (069) 136 20 Fax: - E-mail: email@example.com Internet: www.commerzbank.de ISIN: DE000CBK1001 WKN: CBK100 Indices: MDAX, CDAX, HDAX, PRIMEALL Listed: Regulated Market in Frankfurt (Prime Standard); Regulated Unofficial Market in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, Stuttgart, Tradegate Exchange EQS News ID: 1151070 End of News DGAP News Service