Treichl’s reinvention 2.0 at Erste Bank
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Treichl’s reinvention 2.0 at Erste Bank

Erste’s long-serving chief executive has already transformed the bank once, by taking it into the former communist countries of emerging Europe. Now he is looking to reinvent it again as a cutting-edge digital player.

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Andreas Treichl

Erste Bank

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Not many bank CEOs in Europe have been in post as long as Erste Group’s Andreas Treichl. To put it in perspective, an edition of the Wall Street Journal Europe that included a profile of him after his first eight months on the job also featured pieces on president Yeltsin’s choice of Sergei Kiriyenko as his successor, the potential implications of a single currency for Europe’s banking sectors, and the uphill struggle faced by the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary to get into the European Union.

Europe has seen a lot of changes since then, and so has Erste. When Treichl took over in 1997, it was a traditional Austrian savings bank owned by a venerable foundation with a small footprint in central Europe. Brought in to shake up the group and lead an expansion into the untapped markets of emerging Europe, Treichl more than fulfilled his brief. 

In his first six months in office, he took Erste public, overhauled the bank’s management and bought a leading lender in Hungary – prompting the Wall Street Journal to headline its profile ‘Treichl rides Erste as hard as his Harley’, a reference to his penchant for motorbike racing.

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