Lone Star in Novo Banco management reshuffle
The US vulture fund Lone Star, which has a controlling interest in Portugal’s Novo Banco, is to make changes to the bank’s management structure.
On Thursday next week, the bank’s general supervisory board, led by Byron Haynes, will hold a meeting to decide to make changes on the executive board of directors since their current term ends at the end of the year.
According to information gleaned from Jornal Económico, Vítor Fernandes is out after six years on the board – he has decided not to renew his term.
Lone Star will replace Fernandes with a board member with an “international profile” who has already worked in the Portuguese market.
Another two board members are also expected to leave, although the bank’s CEO, António Ramalho, will continue at the helm of the bank until 2024.
The other two board members, Jorge Freire Cardoso and José Eduardo Bettencourt, are also said to be unlikely to renew their mandates, but will not be replaced by Lone Star which wants to give the bank’s executive board a ‘hair cut’.
In the meantime, the bank, which has received billions of euros in public money and cash injections from the Portuguese banking system through the Resolution Fund, is the subject of a fine tooth comb investigation by the country’s audit office Tribunal de Contas after a previous expert accounting report into the bank’s management and senior management accounting decisions and practices by Deloitte left more questions unanswered than answered over the alleged bargain basement sale of property portfolios held by the bank.
Parliament has already approved a proposal to carry out a fresh, and this time public audit into Novo Banco which was voted in favour on Thursday by its Budget & Finance Commission.
Among other items to be investigated, is the sale of assets such as the insurer GNB Vida, where the audit office will scrutinise the bank’s management decisions to see if there had been a conflict of interest in these operations, with a particular emphasis on the role, involvement or influence of US fund Lone Star in the assets sale processes.