Mustier’s resignation has got nothing to do with MPS: UniCredit chairman-elect
ROME (ITALY) – UniCredit Chairman-elect Pier Carlo Padoan said on Sunday that the decision of Jean Pierre Mustier to resign from his position as CEO of the entity had nothing to do with a possible acquisition of bailed-out rival Monte dei Paschi (MPS).
He told Italian daily Corriere della Sera that Mustier’s exit would facilitate a merger with MPS. This comes amid speculation last week that a possible deal hurt UniCredit shares.
“MPS played no part in Mustier’s decision to leave UniCredit at the end of his current term. Moreover, his decision does not change in any way the bank’s position towards any such operation,” Padoan said.
Mustier resigned last Monday citing a clash with the board over strategy. UniCredit had been in talks with the Treasury over MPS, which Rome is trying to re-privatise, sources had said.
Mustier had prioritised returning cash to shareholders over mergers and had worked since his arrival in mid-2016 to reduce Italy’s exposure to its fragile home turf.
In an attempt to reassure investors, UniCredit’s board said the capital return strategy was unchanged and ruled out deals that harmed the bank’s capital position.
Padoan said Mustier’s decision was due to “different opinions” over “the steps to take for the integration strategy outside of Italy. The strategy, on which we agree, is not in question. Different views emerged on how to take it forward”.
Padoan, who was named in October as incoming chairman, denied a report saying he had challenged Mustier’s international focus advocating instead expansion in Italy.
A former Italian economy minister who oversaw the MPS bailout and a Member of Parliament for the ruling PD party at the time of his appointment, Padoan also sought to dispel concerns about political meddling.
“Political interference, real or alleged, can only be harmful … But in UniCredit’s decisions political interference has played no role.”