UniCredit investors, Del Vecchio eye pact to steer CEO choice – paper

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Unicredit headquarters of which many employees are working from home due to a coronavirus outbreak, in Milan, Italy March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

MILAN (Reuters) – A group of local investors in UniCredit holding an aggregate 5% of Italy’s second-biggest bank is considering striking an accord so as to have a bigger say in the choice of a new chief executive, an Italian daily reported on Thursday.

UniCredit is in the process of selecting a new boss after Chief Executive Officer Jean Pierre Mustier said last year that he would step down by April due to disagreements with the board over strategy.

Three sources familiar with the matter have said the bank expects to select Mustier’s successor in February.

Leonardo Del Vecchio, who holds a 1.9% stake in UniCredit, had been in contact with local banking foundations Fondazione CRT and Fondazione CariVerona to discuss an accord over their combined stake to back a CEO candidate of their liking at the April annual general meeting, the Il Sole 24 Ore daily reported.

The paper said Del Vecchio, the 85-year-old billionaire founder of spectacles giant Luxottica and now also the leading investor in Mediobanca, could seek to drum up support among institutional investors for the slate of candidates that will be presented by UniCredit’s outgoing board.

Reuters wasn’t able to reach any of the interested parties for a comment.

UniCredit’s outgoing board is selecting a slate of nominees, including a new CEO, that shareholders will vote upon in April.

Fondazione CariVerona and Fondazione CRT hold 1.8% and 1.6% stake in the bank, respectively, according to UniCredit’s website.

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