Yesterday, the Supervisory Board of “ERSTE österreichische Spar-Casse Privatstiftung”, or ERSTE Foundation for short, appointed Bernhard Spalt as the new chairman of the foundation’s Managing Board. A board member since 2012, Spalt succeeds Franz Karl Prüller, who will take charge of the foundation’s social banking activities as the board’s senior advisor. In this role, he will also act in an advisory capacity to the Savings Banks Group.
Returning to the board is Boris Marte, who was a board member from 2008 to 2012. Franz Portisch, general secretary of the Austrian Savings Banks Association, was appointed as a new member of the ERSTE Foundation Managing Board. Richard Wolf, who joined the board in 2008, will remain vice chairman.
The new team will take up their posts at the head of Erste Group’s main shareholder on 1 October 2016. The overall aim is to strengthen the renowned foundation, which has been operating in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe for ten years, in a challenging economic environment, as well as to update – both in terms of content and structure – and strategically develop the foundation’s objectives of serving the public good as laid out in its statutes. The foundation also seeks to fully tap into its potential in its role as a responsible owner. “We want to further improve the foundation’s positioning and its topics vis-á-vis Erste Group by involving it more closely in joint strategic social banking and financial literacy projects with the bank. We want to intensify collaboration within the savings bank family,” said Chairman Spalt, describing one of its objectives for the coming years. “As far as our programmes are concerned, in the future we want to collaborate with fewer partners on more focused projects, enabling them to react to current social developments within clearly defined budgets and timeframes.”
“Over the past ten years, civil society, its topics and the way people get involved to help others have changed considerably. Things are happening more spontaneously, faster and are based on an increased solution-oriented approach. ERSTE Foundation aims to accommodate this development and focus on specific fields within the areas it has gained expertise in – social development, culture and European values – to be able to give new impetus with the means it has at its disposal,” said Georg Winckler, the association’s president and chairman of the Supervisory Board, explaining the Supervisory Board’s decision.
Winckler thanked Prüller for his commitment. “Over the past few years, Franz Karl Prüller has contributed to strengthening ERSTE Foundation with crucial management decisions. In the future he will focus on those fields of activity that are of strategic importance to the foundation. Thanks to his role as senior advisor to the board, we will be able to continue to rely on his longstanding expertise and experience within ERSTE Foundation, in particular in the area of social development.”
Bernhard Spalt chairs the board, contributing his know-how as a financial expert. His agendas, above all, include the management of shares in Erste Group. He joined Erste Group in 1991 and has held various management positions in operational and strategic risk management over many years; from 1999 to 2002 he was in charge of bad loan management in the Czech Republic. After his return to Austria he built up the group’s corporate risk management division, and from 2006 to January 2012 he was chief risk officer of Erste Group Bank. From 2012 to 2015 he was responsible for risk management as a member of the board of Erste Bank Hungary. He has been chief risk officer of Slovenská sporitel’na since 2015.
Boris Marte was responsible for developing the foundation’s programmes when it started its activities. His new task is to develop and implement the new foundation strategy. Before he joined Erste Bank, Marte held various positions in politics. From 1991 to 1995 he was a member of the cabinet of the vice-chancellor and minister for science and research, and from 1997 to 2001 he was on the staff of the cultural commissioner of the City of Vienna. During that time (1998 to 2000) he was also responsible for the installation of the Holocaust Memorial in Vienna’s city centre. From 2001 to 2008 Marte was Head of Corporate Sponsoring of Erste Group Bank AG and from 2005 Managing Director of ERSTE Foundation, which he shaped decisively, starting in 2008 as a member of the Managing Board. He left the board in 2012 to build up and manage Erste Hub, the innovation centre of Erste Group. From 2012 to 2016 Marte was a member of the Advisory Board of ERSTE Foundation.
Portisch will contribute to generally enhancing the incorporation of ERSTE Foundation in the network of other Austrian savings banks foundations and the savings banks group. From 1993 until he joined Erste Bank in 2001, Portisch was a member of the Banking Supervision department of the Federal Ministry of Finance in the multilevel lending business division. From 2002 he headed the Corporate Affairs department of Erste Bank until he took over the management of the Company Secretariat in 2004. From 2008 he headed the Group Secretariat of Erste Group Bank AG. Since early 2016 Portisch has been general secretary of the Austrian Savings Banks Association. In addition to this role, he is a board member of the union of Austrian private foundations.
Wolf has been a member of the Managing Board of ERSTE Foundation since 2008. He has many years of experience in Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) working for Chase Manhattan and Crédit Lyonnais and, in this capacity as a lawyer, focuses on banking law, capital markets law and financial law as well as M&A. Wolf is a partner of WolfTheiss.
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