No New Tidings From Hizkiyahu's Meeting With Hapoalim Board

Banks supervisor Rony Hizkiyahu met yesterday with Bank Hapoalim's board, led by Dan Dankner, but they came to no solution for the ongoing battle of wills.

The meeting focused on Hizkiyahu's criticism of the search committee the bank wants to appoint to find a new chief executive.

Hizkiyahu must decided whether to approve the board's proposal to establish a search committee with a majority representing Hapoalim's controlling shareholder Shari Arison, or to continue demanding the committee have a majority of external directors, who do not represent the controlling shareholders.

The confrontation between Hizkiyahu and Bank Hapoalim's board began with the resignation of the bank's chief executive Zvi Ziv, just a day prior to publication of the bank's 2008 financial report, and the decision, reached during the same meeting, to appoint Zion Keinan as his replacement, without consulting a search committee. The bank says Ziv's resignation was inspired by differences of opinion between the bank's chairman Dan Dankner. Hizkiyahu has demanded that the board cancel Keinan's appointment and appoint a search committee. He is also demanding that the board discuss the differences of opinion that led to Ziv's resignation.