Chris Gwilliam to become new CEO of Parex Banka

02.08.2010, 15:40

Christopher Gwilliam, who’s worked for the World Bank, will head Parex Banka, said Juris Jakobsons, director of Citadele Bank, the retail lender split off from Parex. Gwilliam will replace Nils Melngailis, Parex’s current chairman and chief executive officer, Jakobsons said in an interview today on Latvijas Radio, reported Bloomberg.

The process to sell Citadele could begin as soon as the government sends information about the lender to potential investors, Jakobsons said. Citadele will begin operating today, he said.

Should offers for Citadele be lower than the government wants it could wait to sell until 2014, the deadline the European Commission has given Latvia to divest its stake in the bank, Jakobsons said.

“The bank is stable and can calmly continue to work,” Jakobsons said on the radio.

Peter Hambro, chairman of Petropavlovsk Plc, and a group of investors submitted a bid for parts of Parex, including the Swiss subsidiary, on March 3. Peter Forster, chief operating officer of the Swiss-based Institute for Innovative Trading AG, and a group of investors, are interested in acquiring the Swiss subsidiary.

Nordea AB, DnB Nord Banka, PKO Bank Polski SA, Alfa Bank and Raiffeisen Bank were among banks mentioned as possible buyers of the new Parex, newspaper Diena said on March 23, citing a consultant’s report.

The Latvian state-asset sales department owns 75 percent of Parex and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development holds 25 percent plus one share in Citadele. The government plans to create an asset-management company out of the remainder of Parex that was not transferred to Citadele.

Citadele was split off after Parex, which was Latvia’s second-biggest lender, was taken over by the state in 2008 following a run on deposits. Latvia was forced to turn to a group led by the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund for a 7.5 billion-euro bailout after Parex failed.