BBVA picks US head Onur Genç as new CEO in digital drive
MADRID – Reuters
Spain’s BBVA named Onur Genç as its new chief executive on Nov. 28, with the head of the Spanish bank’s U.S. operations due to take over its online transformation from Carlos Torres at the end of 2018.
Genç’s appointment reaffirms the bank’s global ambitions and in particular a commitment to Turkey and the U.S., a source with knowledge of the matter said.
The succession was widely expected as Torres has already been appointed to replace Francisco Gonzalez as executive chairman of Spain’s second-biggest bank.
After joining BBVA’s Turkish division Garanti in 2012 as executive vice president for retail banking, Genç was named deputy CEO of the Turkish lender in 2015, assuming responsibility for its wholesale banking too.
In the U.S., Genç not only made significant progress in increasing the bank’s financial results but “also on the development and improvement of digital capabilities”, BBVA said.
However, there is uncertainty over whether digital services can generate the healthy profits the bank has enjoyed for the last two decades, particularly when one of its main markets, Turkey, is struggling.
Turkey, the bank’s now fourth-biggest market, is going through a worsening economic situation, forcing BBVA to strike a more cautious approach.
In the third quarter, BBVA’s net profit in Turkey dropped 40.7 percent after the lira slumped in August, whereas in the U.S., net profit climbed 29 percent in the quarter.
Shares in BBVA are down 30 percent so far this year. A jump in the bank’s third-quarter profit was mainly the result of one-off gains and a strong performance in Mexico, which has overtaken Spain as BBVA’s biggest business.