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Change at Hellenic Bank after shock departure of CEO

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Chairman and CEO of former Piraeus Bank and now AstroBank, Constantinos Loizides, returns to Hellenic Bank as its new CEO

Career banker Constantinos Loizides is returning to Hellenic Bank as its new chief executive after 15 years, following the unexpected resignation Wednesday of CEO Ioannis Matsis, media reports said.

Matsis stepped down after 40 months at the helm of the island’s second-largest lender, a surprise decision that had immediate effect.

No explanation has been provided so far.

He was appointed to the bank’s board in December 2013, representing the ‘new guard’ as shareholders and new investors rescued the bank from collapse with own funds, avoiding a bailout similar to what happened at Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Popular, with the latter eventually crumbling.

Matsis, 51, is a Cambridge graduate and became Hellenic’s new CEO in April 2017 and steered the bank through a tumultuous period in its history, shedding non-performing loans (NPLs) and taking over the good assets of the now-defunct Cyprus Co-operative Bank.

Loizides, who also headed Cyprus Airways, returns to Hellenic having led AstroBank as its chairman and CEO since April 2019.

He joined the Greek-owned Piraeus Bank in 2007, which had earlier taken over the operations of Arab Bank in Cyprus.

Loizides established Piraeus Bank Cyprus as a wholly-owned subsidiary and was instrumental in the restructuring of Piraeus’ other assets in neighbouring countries, including Egypt.

The bank was taken over by Lebanese investors, headed by financier Maurice Sehnaoui, with Piraeus Bank SA retaining a 10% stake.

The bank recently changed its name from Astro Bank Limited to Astro Bank Public Company Limited, fuelling rumours that it may be seeking a listing on the Cyprus Stock Exchange next year, while two more takeovers are in the pipeline, the local operations of National Bank of Greece and Arab Jordan Investment Bank.