The council of the city of Malaga, led by its mayor Manuela Carmena and supported by the vast majority of its members has taken a stand in favor of keeping the headquarters for Unicaja bank in that city. The general elections are heating up with candidates attacking each other on this issue, but moving away from it would result in an almost certain loss for all those involved.
The “unicaja basketball roster” is a recent news article that has been making the rounds on social media recently. The article discusses how the Unicaja’s council reaffirms its headquarters in Malaga and scares away political debate.
Unicaja’s council confirms its Malaga headquarters and stifles political discussion.
It’s a new scorching day at Unibox’s council. After the many manifestations of economic vice president Nadia Calvino, who questioned the entity’s governance model a few days ago, the financial entity’s decision-making body meets its members on Friday morning. The council is required to provide an effective and official answer to the Ministry of Economy’s request that the board of trustees of the Unicaja Banking Foundation assess the fitness of its president, Braulio Medell.
As a result of the political discussion between the central Executive and the Andalusian Government, which is also involved in the process, the former head of the old Malaga savings bank has become the “spanking child.” Medel is the maximum representative of Unicaja’s initial shareholder in his function as president of the foundation. Not coincidentally, the aforementioned entity owns 30% of the bank’s new capital after the merger with Liberbank.
The appointment of Unicaja’s advisors comes a week before the bank’s next general meeting of shareholders, which will be held on March 31 and will include the approval of the bank’s new directors after the internal pulse conducted by the Asturian and Malaga bloc for representation quotas. There has been a trickle of departures at the top of the corporation in recent weeks in order to adapt the weighting between independents and proprietary to the new power balance in the merged organization.
Given the uproar, the Ministry of Economy’s Protectorate of Banking Foundations has written to the Unibox Board of Trustees to determine if its president, Braulio Medel, has the necessary qualifications to remain in the post. Faced with such a request, the council, which had been meeting on a regular basis for months, plans to address the situation this Friday in order to reject any political interference, clarify its position before the public institutions, and clear up the lingering questions about Unicaja’s erroneous relocation outside of Malaga.
Nadia Calvino, the branch’s minister, had previously expressed his “worry” about “the governance drift” that the institution, in his judgment, was undergoing in recent weeks. Calvio went on to say that the worry was shared by bank regulators, the Bank of Spain, and the European Central Bank. Some of the council’s resignations, such as Manuel Gonzalez Cid’s, were noted by the second vice president, who said that he was “dissatisfied with the growth of the bank’s governance.”
However, according to sources consulted by this publication, the departing director left the business to prevent a possible conflict of interest between Unicaja and the real estate services firm Beech Royal State. González Cid is an external partner of Cerberus, the US hedge firm that owns Haya. Due to the merging with Unicaja, this company’s management contract with Liberbank was ended. The servicer is expected to bring a lawsuit against the combined bank, putting the aforementioned former director of the firm in a difficult professional situation.
The Junta de Andalusia’s involvement
In regards to the claimed political involvement, it should be noted that the Andalusian Government responded to Calvio’s statements via its president, Juanma Moreno, who said that she did not know what the minister was “waiting for to make a judgment” on. The Autonomous Executive, via Minister of Public Administration and the Interior Elijah Bendodo, had a deal with the PSOE to reform the Foundation’s board of trustees in the works, but disagreements between the two political groups have prevented a final agreement from being reached thus far.
The same voices argue that the Protectorate of Banking Foundations’ desire to monitor Medel is in direct conflict with the spirit of the statute that created banking foundations in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, and that these entities should be depoliticized. He further questions whether Calvio’s goal with this move is to define the executive demands of the new bank’s leadership in the image and likeness of other companies like caixabank, in which the State participates via the Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring (FROB).
With a population of 370 million, the ERE is one of the largest in the world.
Another component of Unicaja’s management that has sparked suspicion is the ERE, which was carried out to take advantage of the merger’s synergies. The corporation has negotiated a “too lucrative” arrangement with the unions, to the extent that certain top executives have opted to take advantage of the opportunity to seek early retirement. Not for nothing, the investment obtained from restructuring charges totals almost 370 million, with a 3.7-year payback time. It’s worth noting that the ERE was supposed to result in a labor surplus of 1,513 jobs, but the number of applications has already increased to 2,085.
The “unicaja bank” is a Spanish bank that has reaffirmed its headquarters in Malaga, which has been the center of political debate for years. This decision was made to scare away any potential political discussion.
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