Hellenic Bank shareholders approved the appointment of a new board at the annual general meeting on Wednesday, including the first female chairman of 40-year-old bank.
No elections were needed since the number of candidates was equal to the number of positions to the board, with news reports suggesting that the three major institutional– online gaming company Wargaming.net, New York-based hedge fund Third Point and local investment company Demetra – as well as the Church of Cyprus, giving their nod of approval.
Expected to take the helm of the bank is Irena Georgiades, the Commissioner responsible for Public Sector Reform Commissioner, who will probably have to resign her post.
The other members elected to the board were Marinos Yiannopoulos, Vasos Komodromos, Ioannis Matsis, Marianna Pantelidou, Evripides Polycarpou, Giorgos Fereos, Andreas Haritou, Christodoulos Hadjistavris and David Bonnano.
In his address, the bank’s CEO Makis Keravnos described the sale of the branches of Cypriot banks in Greece as part of the bailout agreement "as a blackmail on behalf of the European partners in a particular moment of weakness of Cyprus, an equal member state of the EU", noting that "this is a matter that should not be closed".
Hellenic Bank, as well as main lender Bank of Cyprus and now-defunct Laiki Popular, lost all their operations when these were handed on a silver plate to Piraeus Bank but remained burdened with the risk.
Keravnos noted that the banking system in Cyprus and therefore the Hellenic Bank will face very serious challenges in the next period, adding that 2014 will also be a very difficult one for the Cyrpiot economy and banking sector.
He said that containing and reducing the non-performing loans is the biggest challenge faced by the bank, while another challenge underway is the new stress tests on Cypriot banks imposed by European Central Bank.
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