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Mark Gilbert

Unicredit's Mustier Must Be Ruthless

The Italian bank CEO needs bold action to win access to more capital.
Bottom of the banking class.
Photographer: GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

Next week, Unicredit Chief Executive Officer Jean-Pierre Mustier is scheduled to present his five-month review of the bank's strategy. To salvage a bank that's seen its market value drop to just 13 billion euros ($14 billion) from almost 40 billion euros in the space of just eighteen months, Mustier needs to become best-in-class -- and that means aggressively shrinking his bank to a more manageable size relative to its country of domicile.

John Cryan, Mustier's counterpart at Deutsche Bank, has arguably shown how not to reassure investors. The German institution is suffering death by a thousand cuts, with every quarter seeming to bring more job losses, more divisions axed and more units sold. Mustier needs a more decisive stance if he's to gain enough support to raise much-needed capital to bolster his bank's balance sheet.