Dov Kotler has surmounted the last hurdle to becoming CEO of Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI), in the form of approval from Supervisor of Banks Hedva Ber. He will take up the post at the beginning of October. Kotler will replace Arik Pinto, who announced in April that he would leave the bank.
Ber now remains with one more senior bank appointment to decide upon, that of Hanan Friedman as CEO of Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI). The appointment is expected to be approved.
The banking supervisor's decision concerning Kotler was subject to an arrangement being reached on possible conflicts of interests. The bank says that such an arrangement is already in place. It mainly concerns Kotler's role as chairman of real estate firm iintoo, which operates in the US.
The banking supervisor also stipulated that Bank Hapoalim should set a cooling off period in relation to dealings with credit card company Isracard. Before being appointed to the Bank Hapoalim top job, Kotler was a consultant to private equity firm Warburg Pincus in its purchase of credit card company Leumi Card (now called Max) from Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI). Bank Hapoalim has a 33% stake in Isracard, which it has to sell.
Kotler was CEO of Isracard until 2014. Before that he was CEO of investment house Prisma (which was set up by the Markstone Fund as a great hope but which ended as no less great a failure), CEO of Union Bank of Israel (TASE: UNON) and CEO of Cal-ICC Israel Credit Cards.
Kotler will have to deal with some difficult issues as soon as he takes charge at Bank Hapoalim. One is reaching a settlement with the US authorities in the affair of the bank's assistance to US customers to avoid US taxes. Another is a new collective agreement with the bank's employees, who have had no labor agreement since early 2018.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 15, 2019
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