Gibraltar International Bank’s chief executive officer, Lawrence Podesta, will be retiring this year after 46 years in the banking industry.
Mr Podesta, who was key in the launch of the bank, has been the CEO from its inception in 2014 when the Government of Gibraltar decided to set up the Government-owned bank.
He was the first person employed by Government to drive the project forward and was given responsibility for all aspects of its incorporation including the banking licence application, the design and construction of the bank’s premises, the operational platforms and systems, all of its processes and the recruitment of all its staff.
During that time, Mr Podesta worked closely with the Minister with responsibility for the bank, Albert Isola, to develop and execute the Government’s proposal to establish a retail bank owned by the people of Gibraltar, and managed and operated independently of Government.
“Mr Podesta has worked in banking all of his professional life, spanning some 46 years,” a spokesman for GIB said.
“He worked with Barclays Bank PLC for some 20 years both in Gibraltar and abroad in different areas of responsibility before being head hunted by Lombard Odier where he worked for some 18 years and ultimately became its Chief Operating Officer.”
“He is renowned as uniquely having detailed knowledge of all aspects of a bank’s operation and systems making him the perfect target for Government in its search for its first CEO of the Gibraltar Bank.”
“Under his stewardship, the bank has met and exceeded expectations and surpassed the targets set in its initial business plan, with the support of the Board, its senior management team and staff.”
Announcing his retirement, Mr Podesta said: “It has been an immense privilege to start up a retail bank in my hometown as Chief Executive Officer and lead it for eight years from scratch to what it has become today.”
“I will always be grateful to Minister Albert Isola for having offered me the opportunity of a lifetime.”
“I am most grateful to the Board of Directors for their support and guidance, the senior management team for their unwavering support and commitment and all of our staff for their very hard work over the years.”
“The Bank will always hold a special place in my heart and having reached the first phase of its development, I believe this is the right time for a new and safe pair of hands to drive the Bank forward into its next stage of growth.”
Chairman of GIB Board, Albert Langston, said: “I would like to pay tribute to the outstanding contribution that Lawrence has made to this Bank and given the important role it plays also to Gibraltar.”
“His personal commitment and dedication has driven us into being the incredible success story which the Bank has been.”
“His decision to announce now his planned retirement allows for an orderly succession process to appoint a new Chief Executive Officer.”
He added: “We are now approaching recruitment agents to support the Board in the identification and appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer to succeed Lawrence.”
“Lawrence will continue until he steps down to be completely focussed in delivering our current strategic plan”.
Mr Isola said: “Gibraltar owes Lawrence a huge debt of gratitude for having undertaken the impossible.”
“He has built a bank from scratch, in record time and with outstanding results just when Gibraltar faced its first serious retail banking crisis following the withdrawal of Barclays from Gibraltar.”
“He is a complete professional and appointing him was the best decision I have made in my political life.”
“I will always be grateful for his absolute commitment in serving Gibraltar so diligently when we most needed it
“We will now move to find a suitable successor and I have every confidence that the Board will now move to find a suitable replacement.”