LISBON, July 5 (Reuters) - The main shareholder in Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo picked an outsider to lead the bank after its previous choice of chief financial officer for the top job, who is seen as close to BES’ founding family, ran into opposition by regulators.
Espirito Santo Financial Group, that holds 25.1 percent of BES, said in a statement on Saturday that it and other “reference shareholders” will propose Vitor Bento, a 60-year-old economist, former Portugal’s debt agency chief and Bank of Portugal department head, as the new chief executive. Shareholders will vote on the nomination at a general meeting on July 31.
The bank’s founding Espirito Santo family has been under regulator scrutiny since acknowledging in May there were “material irregularities” at a Luxembourg-registered holding company through which it has held part of its stake in the bank.
The family lost control of the country’s largest listed bank by assets in last month’s 1 billion euro capital increase and the new move means their grip on the bank will likely diminish further after a clear signal from regulators that they want to isolate the bank from any fallout from the family’s problems.
ESFG also proposed Joao Moreira Rato, who leads the country’s debt agency IGCP and has been in charge of Portugal’s successful return to debt markets after an international bailout in 2011, to be Bento’s chief financial officer at BES. (Reporting By Andrei Khalip)