Hellenic appoints interim boss, as Gatzke goes

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Hellenic Bank’s interim chief executive officer, Antonis Rouvas, said his focus is on maintaining the bank’s business model while addressing long-standing issues such as the collective agreement with staff.

Rouvas, until recently the bank’s chief financial officer, took over as interim CEO following the unexpected resignation of CEO Oliver Gatzke earlier this week.

“I take up this position with full awareness of the responsibilities of this role.

“As of today, we roll up our sleeves and continue with the same zeal and commitment to achieve our goals,” Rouvas said in a message to bank staff.

“Despite challenges, our business model remains resilient.

“We stand on a firm foundation, and I intend to drive change and, with the board’s guidance, handle chronic issues such as the pending matter of the collective agreement with staff,” said Rouvas.

The renewal of the collective agreement has been a long-standing demand of ETYK, the trade union representing employees at Hellenic.

Rouvas said the board’s main concern remains to preserve the bank’s relationship with customers and the uninterrupted service of their needs.

“We have the capacity and will support Cyprus’ households and businesses while intensifying our efforts to resolve the issue of non-performing loans, with full support for vulnerable groups.”

Rouvas argued the bank fully understands its social role and will rise to the occasion.

He was appointed after the bank received official notice from Gatzke, who decided to step down a year early.

The bank stated in its announcement that they parted ways with Gatzke on “amicable terms”.

Gatzke had been benched by the board last October over accusations of market abuse.

This led to a Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission probe that found no proof of any wrongdoing.

He was placed on voluntary leave with full benefits before he was cleared.