MILAN — UniCredit’s chief executive has told top managers at the Italian bank that mergers and acquisitions are currently not a priority, Italian daily Il Messaggero reported on Wednesday.
Andrea Orcel took over as UniCredit CEO in mid-April after the bank’s board fell out over strategy with his predecessor, who had opted for a risk-averse “no M&A” policy, focused on repairing the lender’s balance sheet.
Under Orcel, Italy’s second biggest bank is undergoing a reorganization that has so far entailed an overhaul of top management. Further senior management changes are expected this month, two people close to the matter have said.
“Extraordinary operations are not a priority,” Orcel was quoted as telling the 14 managers of the bank’s executive committee.
“We must concentrate on how to bring UniCredit back to the role it deserves, giving autonomy and decision-making power to the periphery, which until now has always carried out the instructions of the center.”
Orcel, who has said he may look at mergers and acquisitions as a way to accelerate his strategy of boosting profits, is also due to present a new business plan later this year.
Il Messaggero added UniCredit had asked the Italian government for the dissolution of all of Banca Monte dei Paschi’s existing distribution agreements as a condition for buying the ailing lender.
Italy is striving to cut its 64% stake in the Tuscan bank it rescued in 2017. It has failed so far to convince UniCredit to take it on.
UniCredit had no immediate comment on the report.
Shares in the bank were up 0.4% at 1012 GMT, roughly in line with Italy’s blue-chip index. (Reporting by Maria Pia Quaglia Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Mark Potter)