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Unicredit, one hundred decisive days between top management and mergers to restart after Mustier

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Unicredit, one hundred decisive days between top management and mergers to restart after Mustier

One hundred days to change banks. A hundred days to change everything. Within Unicredit, the great discontinuity is about to take shape. From now to 15 April, the colossus of Piazza Gae Aulenti will have to decline a new way to interpret its future, with new scripts and actors.

Pier Carlo Padoan.  Verr
Pier Carlo Padoan. He will be appointed chairman of Unicredit by the assembly of 15 April

The chairman and CEO will change, the board of directors will change, and above all, in the will of many shareholders and various directors, the vision of the Italian market and the way of banking will be changed, with a return of attention to the traditional bank, without to water down the leadership in some sectors such as the Corporate and investment banking (Cib) where Unicredit among the greats player European market.

The coupons

Jean Pierre Mustier, CEO of Unicredit
Jean Pierre Mustier, CEO of Unicredit

It starts immediately. Perhaps already before Christmas an extraordinary board of directors could be convened which will have only the political game of dividends on the agenda. The board, at the latest by the end of the year, and therefore next week, will have to implement the instructions of the European Central Bank on the payment of coupons to shareholders. the dividend for the years 2019 and 2020 is at stake. As is known, the ECB has placed some limits on the payment of coupons to guarantee the capital strength of banks against the economic effects of the pandemic in progress. The cumulative profit of the two years will be considered. The total dividend will not exceed 15 percent of profits, or erode assets beyond 20 basis point. Unicredit, which will close 2020 in the red for about a billion, will have to do the math in perspective, given that the year is not yet concluded and then propose a dividend to the next meeting that will be paid to shareholders in April.

At the end of the year, it will be a board exclusively dedicated to the topic. Sources inside Unicredit assure that you are afraid of governance, that is the choice of the deputy of the managing director Jean Pierre Mustier, n issues related to the consolidation of the sector, therefore the possible acquisition of Monte dei Paschi di Siena, will be dealt with. But assuming that both matches will be subject to observations before and after the council.

Stefano Micossi, president of the Unicredit Appointments Committee
Stefano Micossi, president of the Unicredit Appointments Committee

Closed the year, the first appointment of 2021 set for Thursday 14 January, with the meeting of the board of directors. The agenda is not yet known, but on that occasion the Governance and Appointments Committee, chaired by Stefano Micossi, will update the advice on the search for the new head of the company, in light of the talks that the American multinational Spencer Stuart is holding in recent days with many candidates, not all Italians. If all goes well, the choice of the new CEO of the group should mature from 14 to 31 January, who would start working as soon as possible. In any case, Jean Pierre Mustier will probably still present the accounts for the last quarter of 2020 and for the entire year to the board of directors. The appointment set for February 10th. The signature on the quarterly financial statements could be the last formal act by Mustier as CEO of Unicredit. From then on, the leader of the group should be his replacement. This will be a challenging and strategically relevant choice, because it will affect the future of the second Italian bank, the first for presence abroad.

Focus on Italy

Cesare Bisoni, president of Unicredit.  His mandate
Cesare Bisoni, president of Unicredit. His term of office expiring

But the great race of 100 days will not allow any time to breathe yet. In fact, by March 25, the lists of directors for the new three-year period to be proposed at the shareholders’ meeting will be presented, given that the board of directors in office will lapse with the approval of the 2020 financial statements. , who will conclude his experience which began with the urgent replacement of former minister Fabrizio Saccomanni. Few other adjustments foreseen in the board. If he is not indicated as managing director, Diego De Giorgi, today an internal candidate, may exit, reported close to possible alternative solutions. Instead, Pier Carlo Padoan, who will be elected president, will be confirmed.

All this will go until April 15, the day set for the assembly that will approve the budget and elect the new council. Final milestone of the hundred days that will change the face of Unicredit. From the 16th of April, on a Friday, the great discontinuity will be realized. The new bank will begin its journey. The attention on Italy should increase and so the focus on the bank retail, a sector in which Unicredit, in the past was a major player, both through Credito Italiano, with Banca di Roma and Banco di Sicilia. The evolution of the credit industry has progressively distanced the group from its territories of choice, almost a reaction after the many conditioning and not always far-sighted actions carried out by some shareholder foundations until the arrival of Mustier. Today we think of a recovery of spaces and functions. The great competitor, Intesa Sanpaolo, has shown that there is room for traditional banking in Italy. And on that level that the next Unicredit battle will be played. Immediately after the hundred days in which everything will happen.

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