Head of Bank Leumi's Capital Markets Division Tapped as Tel Aviv Stock Exchange CEO

Itai Ben-Zeev, 41, is responsible for the bank’s $31.5 billion nostro account and manages a staff of more than 500 people.

Itai Ben-Zeev
Eyal Toueg

Five months after Yossi Beinart effectively stepped down as CEO, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange said Thursday a search committee had nominated Itai Ben-Zeev to replace him effective January 1.

Ben-Zeev, 41, is head of Bank Leumi’s capital markets division, where he is responsible for the bank’s 120 billion-shekel ($31.5 billion) nostro account and manages a staff of more than 500 people.

He previously worked at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Israel and London and holds a degree in law from Tel Aviv University and a business degree from France’s INSEAD.

The appointment follows months of management turmoil at the TASE, which saw Beinart’s exit, power struggles on the board and over-division of authority between the chairman and CEO and the near exit of its acting CEO — all as the TASE has struggled with declining trading volumes and a decline in the number of listed companies.

Volumes this year have averaged 1.25 billion shekels ($328 million) a day, down from 1.45 billion in 2015 and two billion in 2010. The number of companies listed on the bourse has dropped by 200 over the past decade to 453, while there are few initial public offerings of equities.

A plan to make the exchange a for-profit corporation that backers hope will make it a more dynamic organization still awaits parliamentary approval.

“I believe Ben-Zeev will bring the qualities and experience needed to succeed in coping with the big challenges ahead of us among them strengthening management at a time of uncertainty, repairing relations with employees and the workers committee, and setting strategic targets for the coming years,” Chairman Amnon Neubach said in a statement.

Neubach said that after Ben-Zeev’s running in period, which he said would be no later than the first quarter of 2017, he would devote himself solely to board activities and establish “clear lines” of power between him and the incoming CEO.

Gal Landau-Yaari will stay on as acting CEO through the end of the year.Beinart has been on a leave of absence due to illness and announced in September that he would resign.

With reporting by Reuters