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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
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.