ECONOMY

New governors announced for National and Emporiki banks

The government announced yesterday that it had chosen Takis Arapoglou, a banker with Citigroup and a former head of state-controlled Ionian Bank under the previous conservative government, to head National Bank of Greece, Greece’s largest bank. Arapoglou will replace Theodoros Karatzas as governor, a position combining the roles of chairman and chief executive. Karatzas, an appointee of the previous Socialist government, died earlier in March, just days before the election that brought the conservatives back to power after more than 10 years. The government also announced its intention to replace Yiannis Stournaras, governor of Emporiki Bank, also an appointee of the socialist government, with Giorgos Provopoulos, the chief economist at private Alpha Bank. There is no surprise in the announcement, as both had been mentioned as favorites for these positions weeks ago. Both have long experience in the banking sector. The market reacted positively to the appointments. Shares of National Bank gained 1.62 percent to 21.32 euros and Emporiki Bank rose 0.49 percent to 20.34 euros. Arapoglou will assume his duties tomorrow, at a meeting of National Bank’s board of directors. By mid-April, the shareholders’ annual general meeting (AGM) will confirm the appointment. National’s three deputy governors will submit their resignations at the AGM, which will also elect a new board. It is said that at least one will retain his position. Arapoglou, who worked for Paine Webber and Chase Investment Bank between 1978 and 1991, then became chief executive of state-controlled Ionian Bank from 1991. He moved to American Express Bank-Greece in 1994 as general manager and headed Citibank-Greece in 1997. In 2000, he joined Citigroup in London as managing director and global banks industry head, and this year became senior adviser on global corporate and investment banking. He studied Mathematics in Athens and Naval Engineering in Glasgow, also getting a management degree from Brunel University. Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis yesterday met with Stournaras and told him that he will shortly be replaced. Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, who made the announcement added that minority shareholders will be consulted. France’s Credit Agricole holds an 11 percent stake in Emporiki Bank, where the State, as in National, is also a minority shareholder. However, it controls most of the votes through social security funds. Stournaras will submit his resignation at Emporiki’s AGM in mid-April. The AGM will confirm Provopoulos’s appointment, barring any huge surprise. Giorgos Provopoulos, 54, has been an associate professor of economics at the University of Athens since 1979. In 1990-93, under the previous conservative government, he was deputy governor of the Bank of Greece. He has also served as chief adviser to the economy minister and director-general of the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE). Provopoulos got his first economics degree at the University of Athens and an MA and PhD from the University of Essex.