The Slovenia Times

Three NLB supervisors step down


The resignation on Friday of Janko Gedrih, Anton Ribnikar and Anton Macuh, all of whom had held senior positions at Slovenia's largest bank in the past, was announced by the Sovereign Holding (SSH), which represents the state as NLB's sole shareholder.

NLB said in response that Gedrih would be replaced as chief supervisor by Primož Karpe, one of the six supervisors remaining on the board, which the bank said was continuing with its work undisrupted.

The trio that resigned cited discreditation and disqualification as the reason for the move, suggesting the legislator should reconsider legislative solutions enabling supervisory and managerial bodies at banks to make judgements about the suitability of the future members of the supervisory board.

In the letter of resignation, they refer to individuals and interest groups, saying they "have been obviously interpreted as a disturbance that needs to be eliminated".

They say the motive for their decision is that they would like to "disburden the institution of being preoccupied with supervisory board members and enable the owner to appoint new members".

A report by the online edition of business daily Finance says that the trio's suitability to serve as supervisors was debated today by the nomination commission of the NLB supervisory board.

The SSH, which made the contentious appointments, had been at odds with the central bank over whether the nomination procedure had been correct.

Now Finance reports that the Slovenian regulator and the European Central Bank (ECB) have found the trio unsuitable to be supervisors.

Banka Slovenije claimed that the SSS had failed to submit the list of nominees for the supervisory board before their appointment at the 10 February shareholders' meeting, so the central bank could not check them as prescribed by the ECB banking supervision rules.

The SSH would not comment on the resignations, but said that it would launch proceedings for the vacancies on the supervisory board to be filled as soon as possible.

It said its vetting commission would check whether the candidates meet requirements in accordance with the SSH act and the law on measures to boost stability of banks as well as other rules.

Meanwhile, the development has mostly been welcomed by parliamentary parties, with the coalition SocDems for instance saying it was time that the NLB leadership stop being occupied with politicking and conspiracies and focus on managing the bank in the interest of its owners, meaning the citizens.

Tomaž Gantar of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) was also not surprised by the move of the supervisors, saying that reservations about their suitability had already been raised when they were appointed.

Unaffiliated MP Alenka Bratušel went even further, saying the management and supervisors of the SSH should also resign immediately, "accepting responsibility for a situation that was unfortunately expected".

This was echoed by Jernej Vrtovec of the opposition New Slovenia (NSi), who feels the prime minister will have to think about additional changes in the cabinet if the SSH management stays on.


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