Banker of the year 2017: Jean Pierre Mustier, UniCredit
Has any banker ever achieved more in their first 12 months as CEO than the Frenchman who took on an ailing Italian bank and is quickly turning it into a European force with a future?
Awards for Excellence 2017
Not many people would have wanted to run an Italian bank over the last year. Fewer still would have wanted to jump back into one that they had previously quit amid frustration at the direction the firm was travelling in. But Jean Pierre Mustier, who resigned as head of UniCredit’s investment bank in 2014, has had a triumphant return as CEO of the Italian institution since July 2016.
Mustier is too modest to describe himself as the perfect man for the job, but his status as an “insider-outsider”, to use his term, placed him in the unique position of understanding the sprawling firm well enough to know what needed to be done, while giving him the distance needed to execute.
New bank CEOs like to talk of a 100-day period when they evaluate their new firm and decide on the plan. Mustier had no need of that. Even before his official start date of July 12, 2016, he had written a two-page memo to the board detailing precisely what steps he felt the bank needed to take in order to stabilize the firm.