Outgoing Bank of Cyprus (BoC) chairman Josef Ackermann has bought an additional 400,000 shares in the bank, increasing his holding to 550,000 shares, the bank announced on Wednesday.
The purchase signals his confidence in the BoC and the significant progress it has achieved on a number of fronts, the bank said.
“2018 has been an important year in the transformation of the bank,” said Ackermann. “I am proud of the significant progress we have made this year against our strategic objectives.”
The Swiss banker is expected to depart by mid-May. Barring any surprise developments, he will be replaced by Takis Arapoglou, a financial expert and consultant with extensive experience in international capital markets and in corporate, commercial and investment banking in South East Europe, the UK, the Middle East and Africa.
Ackermann said the bank had reduced non-performing loans by 70 per cent since their peak in 2014 and remains committed to making further material progress in 2019.
He also said it had strengthened its capital position, well above the minimum requirements. Liquidity remains strong, he added, “demonstrating continuous customer confidence”.
“Whilst maintaining our leading market position in a strengthening Cypriot economy, the board of directors and the management of our bank remain committed to a stronger, safer, Cyprus-focused institution, capable of supporting the Cyprus economy,” Ackermann said.
He said the past year had been important in the transformation of the bank against its objective of balance sheet derisking and refocusing the business in supporting the growing Cypriot economy.
The BoC group has agreed to the sale of €2.8bn non-performing loans (Project Helix), which is expected to be completed in the coming weeks, reducing the NPE ratio to 36 per cent.