Intesa Sanpaolo

Background information

Intesa Sanpaolo is the outcome of a revolution which was also a compromise between the secular and the catholic culture in the Italian banking industry. It is deeply rooted in the heirs of the catholic credit tradition, Banco Ambrosiano Veneto, and the most secular and most international Italian bank since ever: Comit. It’s not by chance that the Intesa brand represents a Roman aqueduct, to symbolize soundness but also union of different cultures and peoples. And banks. In August 1982, just two months after Guido Calvi, then the boss of ultra-catholic Banco Ambrosiano, was found dead hanged under Blackfriars Bridge in London, Giovanni Bazoli, an attorney from the Lombard wealthy city of Brescia little known at national level, was the Treasury minister choice to rebuild the Milanese bank gone bankrupt by merging it with other Catholic banks of the North East of the country. The plan of Minister Andreatta, a Christian Democrat, was that of grouping the financial activities of religious orders and important Lombard families once shareholders of the failed old Ambrosiano into the Nuovo Ambrosiano, which Bazoli managed to merge with Banca Cattolica del Veneto and gave birth to Banco Ambrosiano Veneto, shortened in Ambroveneto. The name of Banca Intesa makes its first appearance in 1998, as the name of the holding company of an aggregation of the same Ambroveneto with Cariplo, an historic brand of Milan banking industry, Cariparma and Friuladria. This all-Chatolic banking galaxy, after lengthy negotiations, eventually managed to take over Banca Commerciale Italiana, Comit in short, the jewel of the crown of Italy’s banking system, the most secular and international, as said known abroad as BCI. The acquisition gave birth to Intesa BCI, a single lender with 12 million clients, first by far in Italy and among the top ten in Europe. After Comit, a Bazoli then became a big fish in the Italian banking landscape, did strike another success as Intesa BCI took over Sanpaolo Imi of Turin, itself the result of a previous merger, and extends his realm to the entire, wealthy North of the country, from the Eastern regions of Veneto and Friuli, home of profitable SMEs in the hundreds of thousands along with multinational companies like Luxottica and Benetton, up to the Piedmont in the West, the Fiat region. In the middle Milan, the country financial centre. Bazoli held the chairmanship but needed a modern CEO to manage the newly created empire: Corrado Passera, a former executive with Carlo De Benedetti who successfully managed to fix and turn into profitability Italy’s Post Office. In 2006 the merge with Sanpaolo was completed with a German style dual governance system. After Passera was called by PM Monti in 2011 as his most senior Minister the CEO post went to Enrico Cucchiani – a former Allianz country manager and Unicredit board member. Bazoli still seats like an icon as chairman of the surveillance board.

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  1. Pingback: Generali, the sleeping giant woke up | italypr

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