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Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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Hel­lenic Bank, one of the is­land’s four sys­temic banks that un­der­went strin­gent cap­i­tal stress tests last month, has ap­pointed Dutch­man Bert Pi­jls as its new Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer. He re­places Mari­nos Yannopou­los who had been act­ing CEO since Septem­ber, and now re­turns to his pre­vi­ous role as a non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor on the board.

Yannopou­los, who was vice pres­i­dent at the time, stepped in to take over from veteran banker Makis Ker­avnos who had re­signed after ten years at the bank’s helm.

Pi­jls brings over two decades of bank­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to Hel­lenic, which is in the lat­ter stages of a EUR 220 mln rights is­sue to meet cap­i­tal short­fall iden­ti­fied in the EU-wide stress tests and fund its am­bi­tious growth plans.

His ex­pe­ri­ence and net­work­ing is ex­pected

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a sig­nif­i­cant role in the cap­i­tal in­crease road show un­der­way this week tat should raise some 130 mln euros by the end of De­cem­ber with the bless­ing of in­sti­tu­tion­als Third Point and Wargam­ing.net who con­trol just over 40%. The rights is­sue is be­ing of­fered at 3.75c a share. “With his deep ex­pe­ri­ence in bank­ing across six dif­fer­ent coun­tries and his re­cent spe­cial­ism in the use of dig­i­tal chan­nels to en­hance cus­tomer ser­vice, Bert Pi­jls is ide­ally placed to en­sure the im­ple­men­ta­tion of our strate­gic plan and cap­ture the con­sid­er­able op­por­tu­nity be­fore us as the solid bank­ing al­ter­na­tive for Cypriot house­holds and busi­nesses,” said chair­woman Irena Ge­or­giadou.

Pi­jls was most re­cently Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Cus­tomer Ser­vices and Com­mer­cial at Bri­tish Gas/Cen­trica, where he had a strong fo­cus on in­creas­ing the company’s use of dig­i­tal chan­nels. Be­fore that, he was Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor at Cit­i­group EMEA in London, CEO at Egg and held se­nior po­si­tions in the US, Ger­many and Bel­gium with Cit­i­group and Amer­i­can Ex­press.

“I am join­ing a bank in sound fi­nan­cial health, with sup­port­ive share­hold­ers and a com­mit­ted team and in a unique po­si­tion as the cred­i­ble chal­lenger to the es­tab­lished or­der in Cypriot bank­ing,” Pi­jls said.

One of his ini­tial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties will be to trans­form the pre­vi­ously con­ser­va­tive bank into a more ag­gres­sive fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion with the aim of in­creas­ing mar­ket share, both at home and abroad, through re­tail prod­ucts and niche ser­vices, such as wealth man­age­ment.

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