MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s UniCredit said on Wednesday it was halting the sale of its art collection, the latest move by new chief executive Andrea Orcel to reverse a move made by his predecessor Jean Pierre Mustier.
UniCredit had announced in February 2019 that it would gradually sell local art collections in Italy, Germany and Austria and use the proceeds primarily to fund social impact initiatives.
The bank said on Wednesday that it would honor its commitments on social activities, but that it was suspending the Art4Future project which had led the group to part with some important works of art.
In an effort to make its collection accessible to a wider audience, UniCredit said it plans to provide digital access and launch educational programs for young people, as well as hold an exhibition.
âUniCredit is a pan-European group with an Italian soul where art and culture are at the heart of this country,â Orcel said in a statement.
Rival heavyweight Intesa Sanpaolo is exhibiting his art collections, valued last year at 294 million euros ($ 347 million), at three museums in Milan, Naples and Vicenza, with a fourth set to open in Turin.
Less than a month after taking the reins of UniCredit, Orcel reshuffled the bank’s senior management setup, removing a co-manager structure put in place by Mustier with the aim of simplifying the bank’s activities.
While Mustier had strived to reduce UniCredit’s exposure to its indebted home country, Orcel placed all Italian operations in a new stand-alone company called UniCredit Italia “to underline … the importance of our heritage and our roots “.
(Reporting by Valentina Za; Editing by Jan Harvey)
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