National Bank of Greece chief executive Leonidas Fragkiadakis has stressed to Kathimerini his determination to find a solution to the lender’s management crisis, adding that the point is to reach consensus for the benefit of the bank. He adds that the lender has many challenges ahead of it and that it is crucial normality returns for work to resume.
Last week the administration crisis at the country’s oldest bank regarding the election of a new president intensified, with comments by Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis about a “serious rift between the bank’s board and [bank bailout fund] HFSF” putting the blame for the situation on the NBG board. Last Friday’s statements by the government spokesman backing the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund were also seen as an implicit call for the resignation of new president Panayiotis Thomopoulos, and possibly Fragkiadakis too.
NBG sources note that the issue is not about the HFSF reaction to any action or decision personally by the CEO, but rather against a group decision by the board taken with a vast majority: In the first vote Thomopoulos was elected with eight votes for and two against, while in the second the board’s confidence in him was 12 to one.
The Fund unofficially appears angry with the bank’s stance and has stated it is examining whether to call an extraordinary general meeting to change virtually the entire board, although it appears that the HFSF’s handling of the matter has been particularly problematic.
NBG sources as well as board members insist there was no prior communication on the candidates and that the HFSF did not declare its preference for any of the suitors to the presidency ahead of the vote, while at no point did it even imply that the result of the vote might lead to a rift in relations between the bank’s board and the Fund. They also wonder why the HFSF gave its approval for Thomopoulos – without which he could not have stood for NBG president – if the Fund was in favor of another candidate.
Now Kathimerini understands that Fragkiadakis intends to take some initiatives in order to find a compromise solution this week, but without examining the option of his resignation.