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Opinion

Can Andrea Orcel be UniCredit’s ‘inclusive’ CEO?

The consummate dealmaker appeals to shareholders and the board, by being an Italian with a big international profile.

Dominic O'Neill on Europe 1920px.jpg

Andrea Orcel is on his way to becoming UniCredit’s chief executive, after the bank’s key domestic, as well as international, shareholders decided they wanted a strong counterweight to the fear of Italian government influence.

Orcel, though, could also win over the board – especially chairman designate Pier Carlo Padoan – whose bigger concern is for a break with the anti-M&A intransigence and perceived aloof leadership of Jean Pierre Mustier.

Orcel’s status as an Italian could give him an advantage in his personal dealings in Italy, while his ability to command respect abroad, like Mustier, may appeal to financially orientated shareholders, such as Italian billionaire Leonardo Del Vecchio’s Delfin, which owns 1.9%.

For the board, the best thing about Orcel is his appointment would by no means preclude the prospect of doing M&A

Padoan will now hope a swiftly agreed choice of Orcel will get the bank out of the limbo it has been in since Mustier announced in November his decision to step down.

The new CEO could get to work at UniCredit as soon as mid-February, Euromoney understands. Although Orcel will not formally take over as CEO until after the bank’s annual general meeting in April, Mustier is now stepping down after the bank’s fourth-quarter results.

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