While the board of Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI) is preparing to choose a new chairman to replace David Brodet, and as rival banks Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) and Israel Discount Bank (TASE: DSCT) are searching for new CEOs, Bank Leumi CEO Rakefet Russak-Aminoach has announced that she will step down, after seven years in the post and fifteen years at the bank altogether.
Sources at Bank Leumi said, "As far as she is concerned, she has come to the end of her term, which she sees as having been highly successful, and at the end of which the bank has the highest market cap in the sector."
This morning, Bank Leumi said in a statement: "The bank's CEO, Rakefet Russak-Aminoach, has announced her intention to end her term as CEO of the bank after seven years in the post. She will step down in the course of the next few months, after the board decides on a new appointment and an orderly changeover."
Before becoming CEO in 2012, Russak-Aminoach headed Bank Leumi's Corporate Division for eight years. Between 1992 and 1994, she was a personal assistant to Galia Maor, who was then Deputy CEO of the bank. In 1995, she became a partner at the accounting firm of KPMG Israel - Somekh-Chaikin CPA and in August 2000, she was appointed CEO of the firm. Russak-Aminoach said in a statement today: "Leumi today is the leading bank in Israel. I know that the strong core business, the enterprise infrastructure we built together, Leumi's technological and digital leadership, the high-quality, talented top management team, together with dedicated, professional managers and staff, will be a strong basis for continued leadership by Leumi for many years to come."
Russak-Aminoach is leaving not long after the departure of two division heads: Tamar Yasur and Danny Cohen.
Russak-Aminoach's departure leaves a situation in which three of Israel's five major banks are without CEOs, while Leumi lacks a chairperson as well, although the bank's board is expected to announce an appointment later today. Discount Bank CEO Lilach Asher-Topilsky recently announced that she was leaving the bank to join the FIMI private equity firm, while Bank Hapoalim is looking for a replacement for Arik Pinto, who announced in April that he would step down.
As far as is known, the Bank of Israel has not expressed concern by the series of resignations at the top of the major banks. As far as the Supervision of Bank's Department is concerned, it is not out of the ordinary for a CEO to leave after a fairly long period in the post - seven years in the case of Russak-Aminoach. Eldad Fresher has been CEO of Mizrahi Tefahot Bank (TASE:MZTF) since August 2013, and Smadar Barber-Tsadik has headed First International Bank of Israel (TASE: FTIN) since March 2007. There are those in the banking industry who believe that these two will also shortly announce that they are stepping down, although there is no confirmed information about this.
At any rate, the departures of the CEOs of Bank Hapoalim, Discount Bank, and Bank Leumi come against the background of the fact that the financial sector is the only one in Israel with restrictions on executive pay. Other recent notable managerial exits from the sector are those of Eyal Lapidot from insurance company The Phoenix Holdings Ltd. (TASE: PHOE1;PHOE5) to real estate company Property and Building Ltd. (TASE: PTBL), and Raviv Zoller from Direct Insurance - Financial Investments Ltd. (TASE: DIFI) to Israel Chemicals (TASE: ICL: NYSE: ICL).
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 30, 2019
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019