Bank Pekao brings back the bison
Michal Krupinski looks to shake off the legacy of UniCredit with big plans for Poland’s second-largest lender. But will he be given a chance to implement them?
Michal Krupinski, CEO of Bank Pekao
When state-controlled Polish insurer PZU took over Bank Pekao from UniCredit in June last year, one of its first actions was to dispense with the services of the lender’s long-standing and well-regarded Italian chief executive, Luigi Lovaglio.
Given that the acquisition of the country’s second-largest bank was part of the nationalist Law and Justice Party (PiS) government’s plan to ‘repolonize’ the sector, this came as little surprise to the market. Nor, in some respects, did the choice of his successor.
Michal Krupinski has been known as PiS’s golden boy for more than a decade, since his appointment at the age of 25 to the post of treasury undersecretary by the then prime minister and current party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, during the party’s previous spell in power.
After PiS lost the 2007 general election to liberal rivals Civic Platform, Krupinski put in time at the World Bank in Washington as representative for several countries in central and eastern Europe, before being tapped to cover the region for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in 2011.
His old friends had not forgotten him, however. When PiS returned to power in late 2015 and began systematically replacing senior management at Poland’s state-controlled firms, Krupinski – by this time aged 34 – landed the plum role of chief executive of PZU.