UniCredit CEO under pressure over revamp plan -sources

* Italian banking foundations unhappy about plan-source

* Profumo leadership may be in question

* UniCredit board to meet later on Tuesday

* Shares underperform European banking index

By Lisa Jucca and Ian Simpson

MILAN, March 16 (BestGrowthStock) – UniCredit SpA (CRDI.MI: ) boss
Alessandro Profumo is under pressure from some key shareholders
unhappy about plans to streamline domestic operations at Italy’s
biggest bank by market value, sources close to the issue said.

Ahead of a UniCredit board meeting on Tuesday to approve
2009 results and debate the plan, some Italian shareholders have
argued against Profumo’s programme for a more centralised
structure.

“The banking foundations were not happy, he (Profumo) has
gone ahead. I never expected to arrive at this point,” a source
close to issue said.

The plan would integrate UniCredit Banca, Banca di Roma,
Banco di Sicilia, private banking and corporate banking into the
group holding. Analysts say the plan could bring potential
savings of between 500 million euros ($683.2 million) and 800
million.

Shareholder foundations with strong links to local
governments are concerned that the streamlining plan could do
away with subsidiary boards at regional units, the source said.

Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore also said that the
foundations and some other large shareholders were unhappy about
the current organisational structure, which sees Profumo leading
the bank flanked by three deputies and with no deputy CEO.

“The situation is fluid,” a source close to UniCredit said.

Profumo’s mandate was renewed last year for another three
years.

The first source said foundation Cariverona, which has 4.99
percent of UniCredit, “has been the most aggressive” on the
issue. CariVerona declined to comment.

A London-based analyst said the resistance was “not
positive” for UniCredit and was a move by the foundations to
retain power over boards.

“It tells us that these shareholders are more concerned with
board seats than value creation. This is a matter of power,”
said the analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Verona foundation declined to take part in a 3 billion
euro capital increase last year aimed at shoring up capital
ratios. However, it came out in favour of a 4 billion euro
rights issue this year.

Turin’s CRT foundation, which has a 3.3 percent stake, had no
comment.

A UniCredit spokeswoman declined to comment.

The shares were up 0.8 percent at 2.0125 euros at 1017 GMT,
underperforming the European bank index (.SX7P: ), which was up
1.2 percent.

Other key shareholders of UniCredit are Mediobanca
(MDBI.MI: ), with a 5.2 percent stake, the Central Bank of Libya
with nearly 5 percent, BlackRock Inc (BLK.N: ) with 3.3 percent,
Italian holding Carimonte with 3.2 percent and German insurer
Allianz (ALVG.DE: ) with 2 percent

Stock Market Money

(Additional reporting by Andrea Mandala; Editing by Louise
Heavens)
($1=.7318 Euro)

UniCredit CEO under pressure over revamp plan -sources