Countdown for Manuel Menéndez at Unicaja. The Board of Directors of the bank will address the departure of its current CEO at its meeting on Thursday, as El Confidencial has advanced and confirmed by sources close to the entity. The Malaga bank will thus close a power war between its president, Manuel Azuaga, and Menéndez himself that has hindered the governance of the group from the moment of the merger between the Malaga Unicaja and the Asturian Liberbank, an operation that was approved in 2020.

According to the sources consulted, the Board of the combined entity is expected to release a statement to the market this afternoon. The central reason for Thursday's meeting is to execute Menéndez's goodbye, once he received the CEO reevaluation report that the bank's governing body commissioned in May to the consulting firm Spencer Stuart, after canceling a previous contract with the headhunter Korn Ferry. The conclusions of Spencer Stuart's report would have supported the Council in its final decision to dispense with Menendez.

The idea is that Menéndez's vacancy is resolved in the least dramatic way possible and, if possible, with an internal profile. Among the names that sound in the pools is Isidro Rubiales, deputy general director to the president with extensive responsibilities in Risk Control and Strategy. He is a man of the full confidence of Manuel Azuaga and the interlocutor of the merged bank with the supervisors, so he has played a key role in reporting to the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Spain of the successive restructurings that the Board of the entity has undergone since its merger.

Another of the profiles that have won arrests in recent months to replace Manuel Menéndez is that of Pablo González, chief financial officer (CFO) of the entity, historically linked to the bank's Treasury area.

To meet the future CEO of Unicaja, however, we will have to wait. According to the sources consulted, it is not expected that the name of the new CEO will leave the Board on Thursday. In the case of Manuel Azuaga, another external president will continue to lead the bank, which will allow the bank to comply with the requirement that the ECB imposed on the merger operation to separate the executive functions from the figure of the president.

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