Banker of the year 2019: Andreas Treichl, Erste Group
Erste’s chief executive built its emerging Europe empire, rescued it after the financial crisis and successfully positioned the group for a sustainable and socially responsible future.
Awards for Excellence 2019
When Andreas Treichl steps down as chief executive of Erste Group in December, it will mark the end of an era in more ways than one.
Not only has he been at the head of the Austrian group for an astonishing 22 years – longer than any other big European bank chief executive in recent history – he is also one of the last direct links to the heady decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when emerging Europe was a land of opportunity for bankers from the west.
The bank he leaves is very different from the one he took over in 1997. Back then, Erste was a traditional Austrian savings bank owned by a venerable foundation, with a staff of around 3,000 and a small footprint in central Europe. Today it is a listed company with subsidiaries in six countries in central and southeastern Europe, more than 16 million customers and 47,400 employees.
The first challenge for Treichl after his appointment was taking Erste public, which was completed in November 1997 in the largest listing in Austrian history.