Mizrahi Names CFO Eldad Fresher as Its Next CEO, Promising Continuity

Fresher, the bank's CFO for the past nine years, is slated to take over for Eli Yones at the end of August.

Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot's board of directors on Monday named chief financial officer Eldad Fresher as the bank's new CEO, saying the appointment would ensure continuity at Israel's fourth largest lender after its long-time boss Eli Yones steps down.

Fresher has been the bank's CFO for the past nine years. He is slated to take over for Yones at the end of August.

"As a member of the bank's management team for the past nine years, Eldad Fresher has been an active and important partner in formulating the bank's strategic plan and in the impressive development of Mizrahi-Tefahot over the past few years," the board said in a statement.

Shares of Mizrahi rose 2.2% to NIS 38.64 in Tel Aviv Stock Exchange trading Monday – the biggest gain among bank shares on Monday.

Fresher was recommended by a search committee headed by the bank's chairman, Moshe Vidman, and was approved by the board in a unanimous vote.

Bank sources said the three-member search committee interviewed several candidates for the position in recent weeks and unanimously agreed on Fresher. The committee called Fresher "the most fitting candidate to lead the bank in the coming years" and noted that he was an active player in the bank's strategic planning process as a member of its management committee for the past nine years.

Technically, Fresher's appointment is subject to the Bank of Israel's approval.

Fresher became CFO and head of the bank's finance division in 2004. His responsibilities have included oversight of the bank's trading rooms, management of its assets, and responsibility for its liabilities and securities investments as well as its private banking and international operations.

He also serves as chairman of the company's Swiss banking affiliate.

Before joining Mizrahi as CFO, Fresher held numerous Finance Ministry positions, among them deputy accountant general, where his areas of responsibility included the banking sector, administration, human resources and training.

While at the Finance Ministry, he set up and ran the unit that manages government debt. From 1993 to 1997, he was a Finance Ministry representative in the United States and worked on a series of Israeli government debt offerings backed by the U.S. government, as well as with the Israel Bonds Organization.

Fresher has an MBA from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Yones, who has been the CEO of Mizrahi-Tehafot since 2004, announced his intention to retire in April.

The board on Monday praised Yones for the bank's "extraordinary success" during his tenure as CEO.

Yones has been one of the country's highest-paid salaried executives, with two stock option packages as part of his compensation package valued at an estimated NIS 250 million before taxes. 

Moti Milrod
Gabriel Bahaliya