LBS Career Center Meeting CEO Andreas Treichl– Chairman of the Board of Erste Bank AG

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CEO Andreas Treichl  praised Lauder Business School for being a great place to develop talent that will influence the world of banking in future.

On November 17, 2016 LBS Career Center had the honor to host CEO Andreas Treichl, the Chairman of the Board of Erste Group Bank AG. The fireplace talk considered three major topics: Mag. Treichl’s background, the future of banking in Europe and the future of banking in relation to politics.

Mag. Treichl started the session by talking about his past and his dream to become a conductor as famous as Bernstein. After receiving advice from his family that it is “better to be a mediocre banker than a mediocre conductor”, he decided to leave “boring” Austria and head for New York. From 1977 to 1994 he worked at several branches of Chase Manhattan Bank in a number of European and American cities. Since 1997 he has been part of the Erste Group Bank and he proudly claims to be “the longest CEO of a bank in the world”. What keeps him in banking is, “being able to create more than money – to create meaning.”

Discussing the future of banking in Europe, Mag. Treichl’s view is somewhat pessimistic. He has emphasized the differences in banking, in the political and the social system in the United States and in Europe, which ultimately affect capital markets and personal wealth. In his view, the United States have a huge capital market and a vast middle class, which is not the case in Europe and therefore requires a different approach in banking. That is also the reason why Erste Bank Group has many clients in the East and why more development will take place in that direction.

As for the future of banking as a profession, he predicted that there will be fewer, but more qualified and better paid jobs in banking. It will not be enough anymore to be “a mediocre banker, you will need to be an excellent banker!” When looking at the Erste Group Bank, it has also reduced its number of employees from 52,000 in the past years to 46,000 in 2016. According to Mag. Treichl, new employees will have obtained diverse degrees, not necessarily banking or business.

Continuing with the influence that politics have on banking, our visitor was rather critical of European politicians and contended that “democracy is over”. New systems will need to be developed taking into consideration issues like long life expectancy, abolishment of the pension system and inability of the middle class to get wealthier. Talking about future major challenges in banking, Mag. Treichl highlighted further developments in digitalization, social banking and longevity products.

LBS Career Center will continue to organize inspiring Fireplace Talks in the fall term 2016/17.