Supervisory Board of the Bank Appoints Three Additional Members to Complete the Management Board of NLB

January 20, 2022

Members of the NLB Supervisory Board met today at their first meeting this year, which was held online. They focused on implementation of the NLB Group Strategy and the status of ESG factors’ inclusion in the NLB Group business model. At the meeting, the Supervisory Board also appointed three new members of the Management Board, thus expanding it to six members in total. Hedvika Usenik, Antonio Argir, and Andrej Lasič were appointed as new members of the NLB Management Board. They all come from NLB or NLB Group, have extensive experience and proven value creating track record.

NLB Group has been growing recently, as it has become a key player in as many as seven markets in South Eastern Europe with the successful acquisition of Komercijalna banka Beograd in December 2020. This growth continues with its active looking for new opportunities for either organic growth or expansion through M&As. The Group's strategy also focuses on intensive digitalisation and emphasis on top quality user experience, as well as a commitment to sustainable operations and development. All this requires and will require also in the future even more comprehensive, coordinated, and efficient management, both of individual business areas and the group as a whole, as well as exploitation of all the synergies within the group. The Bank's Management Board, supplemented with three new members, is properly equipped for this challenge and offers the best combination of various knowledge, experience, and competencies. A five-year term of office for the new members will start after they have obtained consent of the Bank of Slovenia, so until then they will continue to perform the functions of executive assistants to the Management Board. 

Primož Karpe, Chairman of the NLB Supervisory Board highlighted: “The Supervisory Board has been aware of the need to complete the Bank's Management Board if we want to manage the Group well also in the future, continue successful operations, and meet the strategic commitments given to our stakeholders, primarily our customers, shareholders, and also employees. I am glad that we found the right people within the Group, which they will continue to run successfully as a uniform team also in the future. This is certainly a very demanding task in a highly competitive and changing environment, but we are convinced that they will be up to it.” 
Blaž Brodnjak, CEO, said: “We know each other very well with all three colleagues, we have worked and breathed together for many years, and our clients, our partners and the entire team of employees in the NLB Group also know them. I am convinced that they are the best choice and I’m looking forward with pride, joy, and confidence to them joining the NLB Management Board.” 

Who are the three additionally appointed members of the NLB Management Board? 

All three of them are currently executive assistants to the NLB Management Board: Hedvika Usenik for Retail and Private Banking, Antonio Argir for the NLB Group and Andrej Lasič for Corporate and Investment Banking.

Hedvika Usenik is an experienced banking professional with over 20 years of experience in international banking groups. She started her career in 1996 as researcher at the Institute for Economic Research and joined UniCredit Bank Slovenia in 2001, where she held various management positions in retail and corporate banking. From 2014 until her arrival to NLB in 2018, she was in charge of the Retail Banking division and she was member of the Management Board in this bank. Since 2020, she has been Executive Assistant to the Management Board of NLB for Retail and Private Banking, responsible for the bank’s Distribution Network, Private Banking, NLB Contact Centre 24/7, and Sales and Development Management. Apart from retail banking her key areas of expertise include corporate banking, trade and export finance, segment, product, and channel management, and digital transformation. She is a Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board at NLB Skladi and a member of the Supervisory Board of NLB Banka Banja Luka. She is also a member of the NLB Group Sustainability Committee. 
Antonio Argir
has built his entire career in NLB Bank Skopje. He joined the bank in 1999 as a Credit Officer for corporate clients, long-term and investment loans, and later he spent several years in the branch network as branch coordinator, branch manager, and head of the Retail division. In 2015, he became a member, and a half year later President of the Management Board of NLB Bank Skopje. He joined the management of NLB in Ljubljana on 1 January 2022 and handed over the helm of NLB Banka Skopje to Branko Greganović. Argir was Member of the Assembly of the Macedonian Banking Association and since 2018, he has held the position of the Vice President of the Economic Chamber of North Macedonia. Under the management of Antonio Argir, NLB Bank Skopje marked exceptional growth in all segments of its operations, significant increase in the profitability of the bank, and the share price of NLB Bank Skopje increased fivefold. Today, NLB Bank Skopje is a reputable and stable financial institution, and a leader in innovations and digitalisation of banking products and services on the market. 

Andrej Lasič started his career in SKB, Société Générale Group in 1997, where he was Executive Director of Key Accounts and Institutional investors before moving to the NLB. He joined the NLB in 2013 as an executive director of key clients; as the Executive Assistant to the Management Board for Corporate and Investment Banking he covers the SME segment and key clients, trade finance and investment banking, custody services, and consulting on the relevant resource structure and cross-border financing. In conducting business, his motto is to provide comprehensive and the most demanding banking and financial solutions for companies, as well as institutional clients. As a renowned expert, he regularly shares his vast knowledge and rich experience in the field of corporate and investment banking, corporate governance, project financing, and restructuring at various public meetings. He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of NLB Bank Beograd, a member of the Board of Directors of NLB Bank Sarajevo, a member of the Supervisory Board of NLB Lease&Go, and a member of the NLB Group Sustainability Committee. He is also the Chairman of the Enterprise Committee at the Bank Association of Slovenia, and a member of the editorial board of the Slovenian banking journal.  

Well on track to becoming a regional champion and a key driver of sustainable development

At today’s meeting, Members of the NLB Supervisory Board also took note of the NLB Group Strategy progress. The Group has made important steps towards achieving its strategic targets on three main fields: traditional retail and corporate banking, where multiple digitisation initiatives are ongoing to enable faster and more efficient client services; upgrading internal processes to boost workforce empowerment such as usage of data and technological platforms; and sustainability implementation. In 2021, we have focused mostly on enhancing climate-related and environmental risk management and set up the NLB Group Sustainability Framework. Amongst others, the latter includes an impact analysis, which resulted in three core impact areas for our group: the climate, efficient and secure/safe use of resources and finally balanced and inclusive economic and social system. These, along with continuing development of ESG policies and integration of ESG factors, will also remain our focus in 2022. 

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