The investment banker Andrea Orcel is to take over the head of the Italian bank UniCredit in mid-April. The board of directors unanimously nominated the Italian, who had grown up at the Swiss UBS, as the successor to Jean Pierre Mustier, as the parent company of HypoVereinsbank announced on Wednesday evening. Orcel will not start until April because he is supposed to settle the multimillion-dollar legal dispute with the Spanish financial institution Santander about unpaid salaries, as people familiar with the matter told the Reuters news agency. In the process, which is scheduled for March 10, Orcel is ready to make concessions: instead of 112 million euros, he wants only 60 million euros from Santander.
Board of Directors-designate Pier Carlo Padoan gave Orcel advance praise: he has “a huge, broad wealth of experience and extraordinary strategic judgment” – which is important to lead UniCredit into the future. Formally, the General Meeting of UniCredit on April 15th has to appoint Orcel and the newly appointed Board of Directors. Padoan was Italian Finance Minister until 2018.
This means that the HVB mother is expected to be without a CEO for a few weeks. According to insiders, incumbent Jean Pierre Mustier wants to vacate his post on February 11, after the balance sheet figures have been submitted. UniCredit did not comment on this.
Orcel, 57, headed UBS investment banking from 2012 to 2018 and left the Swiss bank to become head of Santander. But the Spaniards withdrew their offer because both sides could not agree on the salary. Orcel then sued Santander.
According to the insiders, by the time he finally takes over the top position at UniCredit, he will already be working in an advisory capacity for the Italians. Far-reaching decisions are pending at UniCredit: The government is urging the Milan institute to take over the ailing Monte dei Paschi. Mustier had refused to do this as strictly as other mergers and had decided to withdraw.