Andreas Treichl’s prescription for modern banking
For 22 years, he has led banking in Austria and across CEE at the helm of Erste Bank. Even as he nears retirement, he is pushing to transform Erste into a ‘financial health company’. Euromoney’s Banker of the Year for 2019 talks about this vision and how digital transformation is at its heart.
Illustration: Pete Ellis
Awards speeches are seldom rousing. Presenters summarize the achievements of the winners. The recipients limit themselves to expressions of thanks, a few harmless jokes and a modest – or not so modest – plug for themselves and their organization.
Not Andreas Treichl. Taking the stage to accept Euromoney’s Banker of the Year prize, the veteran Erste chief executive addressed the black-tie crowd like a political rally.
“In the 1990s, when I was at Chase Manhattan, I would go to the bar and be proud to hang out with my fellow bankers,” he recalled – eliciting a small cheer from the ex-Chase contingent in the audience.
“How many of you today are proud to be bankers? You should be proud! You’re taking care of the second most important things in people’s lives – and that’s their financial health. Go out there and tell politicians and regulators about this. Be proud you’re bankers!”
Treichl certainly has plenty to be proud of. In his 22 years leading Erste he has masterminded its transformation from obscure Austrian savings bank to an emerging European banking force.