UniCredit has appointed French investment banker Jean-Pierre Mustier as its chief executive on Thursday, a choice that is likely to lead to a multi-billion euro capital increase and asset sales to boost the bank's financial strength.
Reuters reports that the board of the bank by assets unanimously backed Mustier at an extraordinary meeting, UniCredit said, ending the uncertainty that began last month when CEO Federico Ghizzoni said he would step down.
The appointment marks a big comeback for Mustier, 55, who was once fined in France for insider trading. He previously headed investment banking at Societe Generale and at UniCredit and is currently a partner at fund manager Tikehau Capital.
He faces a difficult task at UniCredit. The bank's shares have fallen more than 60% this year, weighed down by investor concerns over its profitability, high pile of bad loans and a weaker balance sheet compared to major European rivals. Ghizzoni agreed to go on May 24 in the face of shareholder discontent over the lender's poor performance.
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