BOCY, Houri­can win Euromoney bank awards

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Bank of Cyprus CEO John Houri­can, who leaves his post at the end of Au­gust af­ter a tu­mul­tuous al­most two years, has won the Euromoney Awards for Ex­cel­lence as ‘Banker of the Year 2015’.

Hav­ing left RBS’ in­vest­ment bank­ing unit in Fe­bru­ary 2013, he was head-hunted by the then board of the Bank of Cyprus, fac­ing a ma­jor liq­uid­ity crunch hav­ing al­ready been sub­jected to a bail-in where de­pos­i­tors saw un­se­cured sav­ings van­ish into thin air in ex­change for eq­uity. They were then to see even that di­min­ish to less than 1% of the bank’s new cap­i­tal af­ter EUR 1.1 bln was raised from in­ter­na­tional and new lo­cal in­vestors, in­clud­ing mega-fund man­ager Wil­bur Ross and the Euro­pean Bank for Re­con­struc­tion and De­vel­op­ment (EBRD).

Restor­ing BOCY to health by over­com­ing the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank’s strin­gent “stress tests” last Oc­to­ber, Houri­can an­nounced he was step­ping away from the latest, and tough­est, of his re­pair jobs.

Citi and Mor­gan Stan­ley of the U.S. took top hon­ours as best bank and best in­vest­ment bank at the Euromoney Awards for Ex­cel­lence 2015 held at the Nat­u­ral History Mu­seum in Lon­don on Thurs­day at­tended by 600 bankers from around the world. Jiang Jian­qing, the chair­man of ICBC, was rec­og­nized for his stew­ard­ship of the Chi­nese bank.

John Houri­can was named banker of the year for his role in the re­mark­able turn­around of Bank of Cyprus over the past two years.

In jus­ti­fy­ing the award, Euromoney noted: “John’s task when he be­came CEO was to re­store the bank af­ter the whole­sale col­lapse of the Cypriot bank­ing sys­tem, the im­po­si­tion of cap­i­tal con­trols and the bail-in of de­pos­i­tors – un­prece­dented events at the time. He also had to ab­sorb another bank­rupt bank and had no fund­ing sources.

“Two years on, Bank of Cyprus is a re­mark­able re­cov­ery story, with a new and pres­ti­gious in­vestor base, strong cap­i­tal lev­els, a fo­cused busi­ness shed of its im­pru­dent over­seas oper­a­tions and play­ing a cru­cial role in Cyprus’s eco­nomic re­cov­ery. It is a re­mark­able achieve­ment.” BOCY was also named best bank in Cyprus. Re­ceiv­ing the award, Houri­can said: “I am de­lighted to re­ceive this pres­ti­gious award, which is recog­ni­tion for the ex­tra­or­di­nary ef­forts of the wider man­age­ment team and all the em­ploy­ees of Bank of Cyprus in sta­bil­is­ing Cyprus’s lead­ing fi­nan­cial ser­vices group.

“This work, no­tably the ?1 bln eq­uity cap­i­tal rais­ing last sum­mer, has also con­trib­uted to the restora­tion of Cyprus’s rep­u­ta­tion with in­ter­na­tional in­vestors. Lead­er­ship is about get­ting the best out of the peo­ple you work with. I hope I was a cat­a­lyst for change and helped to un­lock the po­ten­tial of my col­leagues.”

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