Bloomberg News

Intesa Sanpaolo Appoints Cucchiani CEO After Passera’s Exit

November 25, 2011

Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Intesa Sanpaolo SpA’s management board appointed Enrico Cucchiani, the chairman of Allianz SE’s Italian unit, as the bank’s new chief executive officer.

Cucchiani replaces Corrado Passera, who became a member of Prime Minister Mario Monti’s cabinet last week. Cucchiani, who got unanimous approval by the board, will start on Dec. 22, the Milan-based bank said in a statement today.

Cucchiani, 61, is a board member of UniCredit SpA, Italy’s biggest bank, and a director at tiremaker Pirelli & C. SpA. He beat out Intesa’s two general managers, Gaetano Micciche and Marco Morelli, who had been described as the front-runners by Italian newspapers including Il Sole 24 Ore have reported.

“An external candidate like Cucchiani could be a solution to avoid conflict between the banking foundations,” Mediobanca SpA analysts, who have a “neutral” recommendation on the stock, wrote in a note today. The risk of a departure of the two internal candidates and other managers may lead to a “power vacuum at the top” and “destabilize the company in the short run,” they said.

Intesa, the only Italian lender among the top five that doesn’t need additional capital, according to the European Banking Association, is implementing a business plan approved in April that targets net income of 4.2 billion euros ($5.6 billion) by 2013. Italy’s second-largest bank, which sold 5 billion euros of new shares earlier this year, is shedding jobs and reducing costs to strengthen its finances.

Banking Foundations

During his nine years as CEO, Passera oversaw the 34 billion-euro acquisition of smaller competitor Sanpaolo IMI SpA in 2006. The bank is considered systemically important for Italy because it has the largest number of branches in the country. Intesa’s biggest investors are banking foundations including Compagnia di San Paolo with a 9.8 percent stake.

Compagnia di San Paolo, which was an investor of San Paolo IMI before the merger, asked Chairman Giovanni Bazoli to propose Marco Morelli as the CEO, newspaper MF said Nov. 22.

The foundations are non-profit organizations which mostly invest in banks and use the money generated through their holdings to fund philanthropic programs.

Intesa’s third-quarter net income rose 3 percent to 527 million euros after a tax gain offset a trading loss and writedowns on Greek bonds.

Cucchiani, a member of Allianz’s management board, earned an economics degree from Milan’s Bocconi University and a MBA from Stanford University’s School of Business. His previous experience includes stints at McKinsey & Co., Gucci Group and Italian insurer Lloyd Adratico SpA.

Allianz said in a statement that its supervisory board has been asked to accept Cucchiani’s resignation at the upcoming regular meeting in December.

Shares rose 1.5 percent to 1.1 euros in Milan trading, giving the bank a market value of about 17.8 billion euros. That pared the stock’s decline this year to 43 percent compared with a 40 percent drop in the 46-company Bloomberg Banks and Financial Services Index.

--With assistance from Elisa Martinuzzi in Milan and Ragnhild Kjetland in Frankfurt. Editors: Dan Liefgreen, Frank Connelly

To contact the reporter on this story: Sonia Sirletti in Milan at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at

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