MILANO (Reuters) – The search for a new chief executive is UniCredit’s main priority at the moment, the bank’s outgoing chairman said in an interview published on Tuesday.
When asked about a possible acquisition of smaller rival Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Cesare Bisoni added that the board would never accept deals that are not in the exclusive interest of the bank and its shareholders.
The Italian Treasury is moving forward with plans to cut its 64% stake in MPS and identified UniCredit as the ideal merger partner for the bank, sources have said, but Italy’s second-biggest bank wants strict terms to be met before considering an acquisition and is yet to sign a confidentiality agreement.
“UniCredit’s pan-European identity is not in question, nor is the fundamental role of its operations in Italy. At the moment our priority is the identification of a new CEO”, Bisoni told Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore.
UniCredit is in the process of picking a new chief executive after Jean Pierre Mustier decided to step down by April. Bisoni is set to be replaced by Chairman-elect Pier Carlo Padoan in April.
(Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro; editing by Giulia Segreti)