Chairman of the largest Greek lender Piraeus Bank leaves


July 22, AtoZForex – Greece’s largest lender Piraeus Bank’s board chairman has resigned yesterday after the board meeting. Michalis Sallas have been guiding the bank to become the country’s largest bank by assets.

Chairman of the largest Greek lender Piraeus Bank leaves

Mr. Sallas has resigned, saying that the new financial situation needed new management to “steer the bank in the new era.” Current chairwoman of Piraeus Bank is a professor Charikleia Apalagaki, who was a legal advisor at the firm since 2001. There is an allegation that Mr. Sallas has resigned as a result of the pressure by hedge fund Paulson & Co. The latter is owned by a billionaire John Paulson, he is also the biggest private shareholder with 9.3 percent stake in Piraeus Bank.

Just some time ahead of the resignation of Mr. Sallas, Greek media has reported “a conflict between Paulson & Co Hedge Fund and the Piraeus Bank management.” Apparently, Mr. Paulson was pushing for changes in Piraeus Bank management since the beginning of the year.

Additionally, In January this year, Piraeus Bank’s CEO Anthimos Thomopoulos suddenly resigned. This event came as a surprise to investors and, possibly, displeased Mr. Paulson. According to media reports:

“People close to the situation said Thomopoulos had come under pressure to resign from government officials over the past few days. It is unclear what might have driven the government’s desire for a change at one of the country’s largest financial groups or whether the move was sanctioned by the Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.”

Piraeus Bank’s recapitalization process last year

Additionally, as some media reports suggest, Paulson “may effectively have a bigger stake through other portfolios or shareholder alliances, may control a stake that nears 15 percent.”

Mr. Paulson was active in the bank’s recapitalization process last year, investing about 249 million euros. What is more, Piraeus Bank is 26.2 percent owned by HFSF, country’s banks rescue fund. The latter has also bought shares and contingent convertible bonds (CoCos) in the process of recapitalization. In the recapitalization course, Piraeus Banks raised more than 1 billion Euros from private investors and an additional 3.3 billion Euros from the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund.

Mr. Sallas’s, Chairman of the largest Greek lender Piraeus Bank, resignation can be the starting point of some insightful changes in the management of the Greek banks.

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