Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd., Israel’s largest lender by assets, said Chief Executive Officer Galia Maor is likely to step down in the second quarter after 16 years as one of the nation’s most prominent female business leaders.
“Maor has been a fantastic CEO, but this gives the bank the opportunity to introduce new blood into management,” Terence Klingman, the head of research at Meitav Brokerage in Tel Aviv said by phone today.
Possible successors include Senior Vice President Rakefet Russak-Aminoach, who runs Leumi’s business department, and former Bank of Israel supervisor of banks, Rony Hizkiyahu, said Klingman and Adi Scop, a banking analyst at Israel Brokerage & Investments Ltd. in Tel Aviv.
In Maor’s tenure, shares of Leumi have increased almost four times to 11.15 shekels today, compared with an increase of about 2.5 times for that of its closest rival Bank Hapoalim BM, which closed at 12.77 shekels today.
Maor, who was born in 1943, already has passed the mandatory retirement age at Tel Aviv-based Leumi, Klingman said. The retirement age for women in Israel is 62.
“Despite the bank being Israel’s last state owned bank, Maor created a bank with the correct mix of risk management, profitability and a strong management team which can steer the bank even without her,” Klingman said.
The Israeli government’s stake in the company now stands at about 6 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Her resignation comes at a time when Israeli banks are reporting declines in profits and setting aside money for bad loans amid a slowing economy.
Leumi shares rose 2.2 percent today. They have declined 36 percent over the last year, compared with the 31 percent decline in Hapoalim.
Leumi has a market value of 16.4 billion shekels ($4.3 billion).