(Recasts with new chairman named)
JERUSALEM Nov 29 Bank Hapoalim on
Tuesday named lawyer Oded Eran as its new chairman, replacing
Yair Seroussi who is stepping down at the end of the year after
the bank was reprimanded for its handling of a sexual harassment
Eran, 61, has been a director at Hapoalim, Israel's largest
bank, since February and a special consultant to the law firm
Goldfarb Seligman & Co. He had been widely reported in Israeli
media as the leading candidate for the job.
Eran will work together with Seroussi until officially
replacing him Jan. 1, the bank said. The appointment still needs
approval by Israel's banking supervisor.
Seroussi's departure was announced earlier on Tuesday.
"The chairman announced his resignation due to the
environment and reports regarding recent events at the bank,"
Hapoalim said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
The harassment allegation made by an employee against a
senior executive had been examined by the former head of
Israel's Labour Court, who ruled there was insufficient evidence
to support a claim of sexual harassment or abuse.
But the Bank of Israel criticised Hapoalim this month for
not reporting the complaint to the banking regulator as
The employee has since left the bank.
Hapoalim said on Monday that it was in talks to shorten
Seroussi's term, which began in 2009. Seroussi, who established
Morgan Stanley Israel in 1993, has also held senior positions at
Israel's Finance Ministry.
The Bank of Israel had decided to review Hapoalim's conduct
because Israeli banks are required to disclose to the regulator
allegations of misconduct at a senior level.
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Tova Cohen; Editing by David
Goodman and Jane Merriman)