Novobanco CEO tells workers he is preparing bank for IPO

  • ECO News
  • 28 October 2022

During a meeting with workers, Mark Bourke gave an account of the bank's strategy, which involves being "independent" and an initial public offering.

In his first meeting with workers, Novobanco’s CEO opened up about the bank’s future and revealed is preparing for a stock market sale through an IPO.

It’s no secret that the Americans of Lone Star, after Novobanco’s restructuring was completed, would move forward with plans to divest their 75% position, looking for a return on their €1 billion investment injected into the institution in 2017. Although the idea of an IPO has been gaining some traction in the news in recent months, these plans have never been fully confirmed by the bank’s officials, even though the topic is discussed in the institution’s corridors.

Now, if any doubts remained, they have been dispelled with Mark Bourke admitting, with the workers, that the bank’s next chapter involves a kind of return to the stock exchange – from where the ill-fated BES left in 2014 following its capitulation.

In his debut meeting with the workers’ committee after being sworn in as CEO, the Irishman, who already has experience putting a bank on the stock exchange (Allied Irish Banks in 2017), was asked about the future of Novobanco. What did Mark Bourke reply? António Ramalho’s replacement stressed that more important than the sale is even “preparing the bank for an IPO, to ensure a completely independent future” as described by the workers’ committee in an internal note to which ECO had access.

He pointed out the path that will lead the bank to “success”: “We need to understand our customers, focus on their needs and have simple and efficient processes.” The focus of the workers should be on “giving the customer a good experience” while the bank will have to make “prudent decisions in terms of capital to have a sustainable, forward-looking position”.

At the meeting, which took place on September 21, Mark Bourke also made a point of saying he will try to meet with workers three times a week to find out about the institution’s problems and “take a broad view of the bank,” the works council noted.

Questioned by ECO about these positions attributed to the CEO, an official source declined to comment, recalling only that Mark Bourke had already said that he aimed to make the bank “independent”.