Ukrgasbank finally got a new chairman of the board. The management duties in this national financial institution were entrusted to Kyrylo Shevchenko, a banker who already had experience in this organization. What priorities have been set by the new management team and what does the future hold for Ukrgasbank?
In December 2014, after the dismissal of Serhiy Mamedov, the joint-stock bank Ukrgasbank officially announced a competition to fill the vacancy of the chairman of the board. The list of all candidates who had applied to participate in the two-stage draft was not officially published, as the organizers of the draft (the commission of the Ministry of Finance) stated, it was done to protect the candidates from possible informational attacks. The selection process lasted for 4 long months; the winner, who managed to sidestep two dozen competitors, was announced in late May. This post was acquired by Kyrylo Shevchenko who had already worked twice at Ukragasbank (in 2009 and 2014) as the first deputy chairman of the board; on December 2014, he was appointed as the acting chairman of the board.
Elections in a new way
The peculiarity of the 2015 election of the new head of the state bank lied in the fact that for the first time the contest was completely transparent. The initial plan was to determine the winner on April 3, 2015, but the time of the competition coincided with the introduction of alterations to the regulatory framework, which led to changes in the election mechanism.
Initiated by the Ministry of Economy, the final decision was carried out by the members of the nomination committee which included five ministers and other five participants, the independent representatives of various international financial organizations. In fact, the election procedure was realized not in two, but in three stages: On April 3, the committee chose 5 most deserving people out of 14 candidates. On April 10, the remaining 5 candidates were evaluated by the nominating committee which determined the front-runner. It is known that the following people were listed in the top 5 candidates alongside Kyrylo Shevchenko: Vasyl Gorbal, the former owner of the bank, Teimur Bagirov, the head of the investment division of Alfa Group in Ukraine, and Olexandr Dubrovin, who worked as the deputy chairman at Ukrgasbank since 2014.
At the time of the appointment of the new TOP manager, the board of the national bank was not prepared to formally present the future development strategy. Artem Shevalov, the deputy Finance Minister for European Integration, noted that every candidate who submitted the application for the vacant position of the chairman of the board at Ukrgasbank offered his own vision; Artem Shevalov, the deputy Finance Minister for European integration, said that every applicant who submitted its candidacy for the vacant post of Chairman of the Board, UkrGasBank, offered their own vision of the institution’s future in the course of his personal presentation. The managers of this financial organization promised to present a new development plan to the public in the near future.
In the course of the interview for the Forbes magazine, Shevalov expressed his hope that the bank would be able to ensure maximum reliability to corporate clients and will give proper consideration to the representatives of small and medium-sized businesses. The banking official did not overlook the issue of energy efficiency that recently became particularly acute in Ukraine. It is expected that the management of the national bank will implement energy efficiency projects together with certain international financial organizations.
The new head of the financial institution has repeatedly stated that selling the bank is the best option for the county, which is the main shareholder at Ukrgasbank since it will be able to have a return on invested capital. It is necessary to ensure the proper scaling of the bank in order to make it more attractive to investors. Shevchenko sees potential in the non-organic growth of the organization. Plenty of work is being carried out in this direction as the national institution took the keen interest in acquiring the assets of insolvent banks; currently, they are considering the possibility of a merger with the Kyiv bank. The TOP manager is certain that in 5 years the organization, which was entrusted to him, could be sold on favorable conditions.
The shareholders of the organization agree with Kyrylo Shevchenko and the officials from the Ministry of Finance that it is necessary to sell the bank. Artem Shevelev reckons that the projected time of transition of the organization to private owners is 5 to 7 years, during which it will be necessary to make the best effort to ensure that the sale would be beneficial for the country.
As for the potential buyers of Ukrainian assets, Sergiy Kruglik, the director of the Department of International Relations at the National Bank of Ukraine, reckons that foreign investors display significant interest in the national economy overall and the banking sector in particular. The plans for participation of foreign buyers in the activities of domestic national and commercial lending institutions are still at the negotiation stage since foreign investors feel cautious about making investments, aligning their decisions with the results of reforms that are currently taking place in the country.
The existing shareholders, who are interested in the transparency of company’s operations, are interested in entering the capital of Ukrgasbank, along with a number of new foreign investors, such as EBRD, International Financial Company, and other organizations. The latter usually acquire the status of mono-equity shareholders which is sufficient for active participation in the operational procedures of the credit institution.