BOCY CEO steps down, re­turns home in Au­gust

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Bank of Cyprus Public Group Chief Ex­ec­u­tive John Houri­can, is step­ping down at the end of hav­ing com­pleted nearly two years at the helm strug­gling-to-re­cov­ery bank.

The news came as a bomb­shell as it co­in­cided with the bank’s re­turn to nor­malcy, hav­ing been forced to seize un­se­cured de­posits as part of the “bail in” plan in 2013, then forced to ab­sorbed failed bank Laiki Popular and now fac­ing a moun­tain of failed mort­gages af­ter par­lia­ment passed the long-over­due frame­work on fore­clo­sures and in­sol­ven­cies.

On a per­sonal level, Houri­can also faced a lot of angst and frus­tra­tion, pri­mar­ily from de­pos­i­tors who saw their sav­ings dis­ap­pear into thin air un­der the pre­vi­ous man­age­ment, and pre-cri­sis share­hold­ers who saw their stake di­min­ish to less than half a per­cent of their orig­i­nal hold­ing.

More re­cently, one of the cars used by his per­sonal staff, was burned in an ar­son attack, which both the bank and po­lice tried to play down as be­ing un­re­lated to the on­go­ing cri­sis that is blamed on all bankers in gen­eral.

The board an­nounced that “Houri­can’s de­ci­sion to leave the Group is a per­sonal one and he in­tends to re­lo­cate to his home coun­try, Ire­land,” adding that it “will dis­cuss in due course is­sues aris­ing from the res­ig­na­tion, in­clud­ing the is­sue of suc­ces­sion.”

In a sep­a­rate an­nounce­ment, the bank said that Houri­can’s de­ci­sion to leave the bank “is a per­sonal one and Of­fi­cer, Au­gust,

of the he in­tends to re­turn to Ire­land to spend more time with his young fam­ily. He in­di­cated that he is not leav­ing to take up an­other role else­where.”

Houri­can, who was head­hunted and took the wheel of the trou­bled bank in Novem­ber 2013 with aim of re­struc­tur­ing it (down­siz­ing) and re­turn­ing it to sta­bil­ity, came on “dur­ing an ex­traor­di­nar­ily dif­fi­cult chap­ter in its his­tory. To­day, the bank is much bet­ter po­si­tioned to serve its cus­tomers, to of­fer op­por­tu­nity to its em­ploy­ees and to cre­ate re­turns for its share­hold­ers. The bank has a clear strat­egy. The in­te­gra­tion of with Laiki Bank is com­plete. Good progress has been made in sell­ing and de-risk­ing over­seas busi­nesses. The de­posit base has sta­bilised and the bank has be­gun to make progress with its non-per­form­ing cus­tomers. ELA fund­ing has been dramatically re­duced, and, im­por­tantly, EUR 1 bln of fresh eq­uity has been raised to en­sure that the bank is well cap­i­talised amongst its Euro­pean peers.

In a memo to the staff Houri­can said: “I have been very proud to be part of the Bank of Cyprus fam­ily dur­ing this pe­riod and to have led this chap­ter in the bank’s re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.”

Board Chair­man Dr. Josef Ack­er­mann praised “the re­mark­able progress achieved un­der John Houri­can’s lead­er­ship. He leaves be­hind a strong man­age­ment team and a bank in a steadily im­prov­ing fi­nan­cial shape, with re­stored em­ployee, in­vestor and cus­tomer con­fi­dence. We wish him all the best in his fu­ture en­deav­ors and we are look­ing for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to work with him in the months ahead.”

Last week, the bank an­nounced the vet­eran fi­nance ex­pert Michael (Mikis) Se­nior Ad­vi­sor to Chair­man Ack­er­mann.

For the past four years, Had­jimichael was Deputy Direc­tor of Cap­i­tal Mar­kets and Direc­tor of Emerg­ing Mar­kets Pol­icy at the In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Fi­nance (IIF), the world­wide as­so­ci­a­tion of fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions based in Wash­ing­ton DC and be­fore that he had a 28-year ca­reer at the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, also in Wash­ing­ton DC. ap­point­ment Had­jimichael of as

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