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KBC Calls Report of Search for New Chief Executive ‘Crazy Rumor’

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- KBC Groep NV, Belgium’s largest bank and insurer by market value, dismissed a newspaper report suggesting that the company might be looking for a new chief executive officer as a “crazy rumor.”

Geert Noels, co-founder of Belgian financial-services company Econopolis, has been approached to be Brussels-based KBC’s CEO, De Tijd reported today, without saying how it obtained the information. The approach was at the initiative of one or more of KBC’s family shareholders, the newspaper said.

“Looking for a CEO is not on the agenda,” Viviane Huybrecht, a spokeswoman for the bank, said today by telephone, citing comments by KBC Chairman Thomas Leysen in an interview published in L’Echo on Nov. 12. “His position hasn’t changed” since the interview, she said.

Noels declined to comment on the report in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg News.

KBC CEO Jan Vanhevel was appointed to that post in 2009.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Clapham in Brussels at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at

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