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UniCredit CEO Orcel takes direct charge of Italian business - memo

Kitco News

MILAN, July 6 (Reuters) - UniCredit CEO Andrea Orcel has taken direct responsibility for running the Italian bank's domestic business after the board decided to remove the country's head Niccolo Ubertalli, an internal document showed.

Ubertalli's replacement as head of Italy, effective immediately, follows the exit of other long-standing senior executives at the country's No.2 lender where Orcel, UBS' former head of investment banking, took over as CEO in April 2021.

UniCredit's Chief Operating Officer Ranieri de Marchis quit in May, followed last month by Andrea Maffezzoni, UniCredit's head of performance management and former M&A chief.

The board's decision to strip Ubertalli of his role follows internal friction over strategy, three people with knowledge of the matter said, requesting anonymity given the sensitivity of the matter.

Reversing a decision by previous CEO Jean Pierre Mustier to run Italy as part of a Western Europe commercial banking division comprising also Germany and Austria, Orcel on his arrival had entrusted Italy to Ubertalli, who was then the co-head of Central Eastern Europe.

After Mustier's efforts to distance UniCredit from its debt-laden home country, Orcel had promised instead a renewed focus on Italy and has been working to regain market share.

"The success of Italy is fundamental to the success of our group," an internal memo to staff seen by Reuters showed.

"Bringing our Italian business under the remit of the group CEO will cement this alignment and accelerate the execution of our strategic plan," Chairman Pier Carlo Padoan and CEO Orcel said in the message.

Remo Taricani, the head of UniCredit's commercial network in Italy, will support Orcel in the extended responsibilities by becoming deputy head of Italy.

Reporting by Valentina Za, editing by Giulia Segreti and Emelia Sithole-Matarise
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