Bank Leumi CEO Russak-Aminoach to step down after seven years at helm
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Bank Leumi CEO Russak-Aminoach to step down after seven years at helm

Russak-Aminoach has navigated the bank through job cuts, orchestrated the sale of its credit card unit and reached a $400 million settlement with US regulators

Rakefet Russak-Aminoach arrives at the appointment ceremony of Incoming head of Bank of Israel Professor Amir Yaron held in Jerusalem. Professor Yaron is replacing Karnit Flug. December 24, 2018 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Rakefet Russak-Aminoach arrives at the appointment ceremony of Incoming head of Bank of Israel Professor Amir Yaron held in Jerusalem. Professor Yaron is replacing Karnit Flug. December 24, 2018 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The CEO of Bank Leumi-Le Israel Ltd. Rakefet Russak-Aminoach on Sunday announced her resignation within the next few months after seven years at the helm of the nation’s largest bank by market cap.

In a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Sunday, the bank said that Russak-Aminoach will step down after the board of directors decides on her replacement. It did not provide a reason for her decision to depart.

Financial website Globes said Russak-Aminoach was in talks to join Israeli firm Team8, a cybersecurity think tank and investor. Team8 and Moody’s Corp., the ratings agency, said last week they will be setting up a joint venture for what they hope will become a global standard for evaluating how vulnerable companies are to cyberattacks.

Spokespeople for Bank Leumi and for Team8 declined to comment on the Globes report.

Shares of Leumi declined 1.6 percent, compared with a 1.2% rise of the benchmark TA-35 index on Sunday.

“At the end of seven years in which I have been the CEO of Leumi, I have decided that the time has come to leave,” she said in a letter to the chairman of Leumi board, David Brodet, who is also leaving the bank. “Alongside the wide-ranging business achievements and reaching the targets we set ourselves, we have also invested a lot in building a strong infrastructure to ensure the future of the bank for many years ahead.”

Russak-Aminoach has been at the bank since 2004 and has served as its CEO for the past seven years, navigating the bank through challenging times for the banking industry, which is seeing online challengers and institutional investors taking a bite of their market share. She has overseen job cuts at the firm, orchestrated the sale of its credit card unit to Warburg Pincus LLC, set up a digital bank subsidiary, and most importantly in 2014 reached a $400 million fine agreement to settle a US Department of Justice investigation into its activity helping US customers evade taxes in 2002-2010.

Leumi has a market cap of NIS 38.3 billion ($10.7 billion) and its share has advanced 22 percent in the past 12 months. The shares of Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s second largest bank by market cap, have advanced 6.3% in the past 12 months, bringing its market cap to NIS 35.3 billion.

The news of Russak-Aminoach’s resignation comes as the CEOs of two of the nation’s other large banks are also in flux: Arik Pinto, the head of Bank Hapoalim is to step down at the end of 2019, and the CEO of Israel Discount Bank Ltd. Lilach Asher-Topilsky said she would step down to join a private equity fund.

In 2016, Israel passed a law capping bank executive compensation at NIS 2.5 million ($700,000) a year.

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