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Banking

UniCredit: Mustier’s magical year

As a self-described ‘insider-outsider’, Jean Pierre Mustier’s return to UniCredit has transformed the image of Italy’s biggest bank – inside and out – over an extraordinary 12 months as CEO.

It all starts with a memo. The board of UniCredit has approached Jean Pierre Mustier, the bank’s former head of corporate and investment banking, to return to the firm as its CEO. For the move to work, Mustier knows exactly what the board needs to let him do. He already knew the core of it when he quit the bank in 2014. Two years later, it does not take him long to write it down.

It is June 2016 when Mustier writes his two-page memo to the board. His appointment comes on June 30. On July 11, UniCredit announces a strategic review in a press release that almost precisely mirrors his memo. On the same day, it launches the first deal of his tenure, the sale of a stake in FinecoBank. 

The 12 months that follow will be among the busiest of his career. They will also be among the best.

To put the bank on a sounder footing, Mustier presides over a flurry of asset sales, a complex transfer of the bank’s non-performing loan book and a €13 billion rights issue. As a self-described ‘insider-outsider’ he has also transformed the image of the firm, inside and out.

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