September 12, 2016 – Following the recent debt crisis in Greece, the country’s second largest lender — the National Bank of Greece (NBG) — has retained Egon Zehnder to lead its hunt for a new chairman.
According to NBG, the new chair must have a good understanding of the environment in which the bank operates (e.g. regulatory, legal, economic), including the ability to efficiently interact with various stakeholders (e.g. HFSF, other shareholders, the European Commission, regulators, other official or private sector institutions) and the media.
Candidates to be reviewed as part of the process must have at least 10 years of experience at the senior managerial level in banking and/or banking supervision, in financial stability within a central bank or relevant supervisory authority or in an international financial institution. The individual must also have at least three years of previous experience as a board member of a credit institution or of an entity in the financial sector or of an international financial organization. Applicants have until later this month to apply for the jobs.
Crackdown Creates Tall Order for Search Firms
According to recruiters working in the Greek talent sector, Greece’s parliament has introduced a complex and comprehensive set of rules aimed at reducing politicized appointments in the sector. The rules effectively banish local business magnates and former politicians from bank boards. Directors must have worked in banking for at least a decade, for instance. But directors who head committees that control decisions about risk and personnel can’t have worked in Greece’s financial sector in the past 10 years. It is creating a tall order for search firms that are having to focus as much on due diligence reference and background checking as they are on identifying and assessing senior level candidates who fit the latest Greek national guidelines.
The National Bank of Greece is the oldest and most visible credit institution in Greece and one of the leading players in the Greek financial market. Its shares have been listed on the Athens Stock Exchange since 1880; in 1999 it became the first Greek bank to list its securities on the New York Stock Exchange.
Egon Zehnder specializes in the recruitment and leadership solutions business and has more than 400 consultants operating from 41 countries. Its chief global rivals are Heidrick & Struggles, Korn Ferry, DHR International, Russell Reynolds Associates and Spencer Stuart, with a host of specialist leadership boutiques and international talent management consortiums competing with it for global C-level and board directorship positions.
The firm has recent experience recruiting leaders for banks in Greece. Earlier this year, Egon Zehnder was selected by Piraeus Bank to lead its search for a new CEO. Stavros Lekkakos is currently serving as interim CEO while the search takes place.
This latest top level search in Greece comes on the heels of The Hellenic Financial Stability Fund tapping Spencer Stuart four months ago to undertake a review of the country’s four big bank boards as part of a drive to crack down on how members are chosen. The evaluation, one of the commitments Greece made in order to receive its third international bailout, is aimed to boost board level expertise and improve corporate governance, a specialty market offering of Spencer Stuart.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media