Text size

The appointment of a new Hapoalim CEO from outside the bank's ranks could cause a wave of resignations, senior executives warned yesterday.

The controlling shareholders should appoint an internal candidate to replace Eli Yones, who stepped down on Sunday after only a year in the job, they said.

Following Yones' appointment in April 2002, seven of the bank's 15 board members who were affiliated with previous CEO Amiram Sivan resigned. The board was subsequently reduced to 11 directors.

The leading candidates from within the bank are the head of Hapoalim's retail banking section, Zvi Ziv, and the head of its business division, Shai Talmon.

Talmon was offered the job after Sivan resigned but declined. It is not certain whether the controlling shareholders still see him as a suitable candidate. Industry sources said Talmon will not put himself up for the position, but if he is offered the job, he will not refuse it this time around.

Ziv made his interest in the job clear after Sivan stepped down as CEO and apparently still considers himself a candidate. Ziv is held in high esteem by the controlling shareholders for the execution of his current position, but it is not clear if that will be enough to tip the scales in his favor.

Senior management within the bank believe Talmon and Ziv are the only two candidates for the post from within the bank and that one of them should be appointed. However banking industry analysts believe candidates from outside of the bank, including CEOs of rival banks, will be considered for the post.

A panel appointed to search for a new chief executive will convene next week for the first time. The panel includes senior directors and representatives of the key shareholders, including Hapoalim chairman Shlomo Nehama and his deputy Danny Dankner, as well as board members Shari Arison, Jay Pomerantz and Ido Disentshik.