Greece’s Alpha Bank promotes finance chief to top job – Financial Times

Alpha Bank, Greece’s fourth-largest lender, has appointed its chief financial officer Vassilios Psaltis as chief executive after two other contenders pulled out of the running.

Mr Psaltis will take over in January from Dimitris Mantzounis whose resignation has been pending since last year. He holds an MBA from St Gallen University and joined Alpha in 2007 from Greece’s Emporiki bank after working for ABN AMRO’s financial institutions group in London.

“This is a landmark meritocratic appointment by Alpha’s board . . . We expect it will lead to improved professionalism across the Alpha group,” said a Greek investment banker.

The 50-year-old will be the first chief executive in the bank’s 160-year history who is not related to the founding Costopoulos family. He was also the only candidate for the post who not does not face charges in a politically-inspired case over a €57m unsecured loan given by Alpha to a Greek media publisher critical of the leftwing Syriza government of Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister.

“We will accelerate our balance sheet restructuring to conclusively address legacy issues [from Greece’s eight-year crisis] and put all our strength in offering comprehensive financial services to Greek families and businesses,” Mr Psaltis said.

Alpha announced today two sales of packages of non-performing loans as part of a drive to meet new targets for reducing Greek NPLs set by the ECB’s Single Supervisory Mechanism.

A consortium formed by the private equity group Apollo Global Management and the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s investment banking arm, has agreed to pay €337m for a €1bn package of small and medium-sized company loans mainly by real estate. In a separate deal, Hoist Finance of Sweden has agreed to pay €76m for a €2.1bn portfolio of unsecured retail loans.

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