UniCredit cost-cutting ambitions fuels BA job loss fears

Works council chiefs are on high alert after new UniCredit boss Federico Ghizzoni revealed plans to save costs.The businessman, who succeeded Alessandro Profumo as chief of Italy’s biggest bank last month, said in an interview with Rome newspaper La Repubblica yesterday (Tues) that he wanted to “lower costs”.He also stressed: “UniCredit is a healthy bank. We haven’t got any skeletons in our closet.”UniCredit owns a major stake in Bank Austria (BA), Austria’s third-biggest bank. BA, which handles UniCredit’s operations in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), has around 8,000 employees. Willibald Cernko followed Erich Hampel as CEO of BA in October 2009.BA staff representatives have voiced concerns that the Austrian institute would lose its privileged status within the Italian bank following the power switch. Contracts say UniCredit’s activities in the CEE must be handled from Vienna until 2016.