June 5, 2019 / 8:27 AM / 11 days ago

UPDATE 1-Israel Discount Bank CEO to resign, join FIMI Fund

(Adds quote, FIMI statement, analyst, shares)

JERUSALEM, June 5 (Reuters) - Israel Discount Bank CEO Lilach Asher-Topilsky is stepping down to become a senior partner at FIMI Fund, the fund said on Wednesday.

“After many years in the financial system, including more than five years as Discount Bank’s CEO, I am pleased to embark on a new path at FIMI... and join the business-management side in new areas of activity for me,” she said in a statement issued by FIMI.

Asher-Topilsky, 49, has been CEO of Israel’s fourth-largest bank since February 2014.

No date has been set for her resignation from the lender but a bank spokeswoman said it likely would be at the end of the year.

FIMI has around $5 billion in assets under management and has bought control of 89 companies.

“The FIMI fund is engaged in improving companies and is measured by its ability to generate significant positive change in companies. Lilach’s joining the fund fits best with this process,” said FIMI CEO Ishay Davidi.

Prior to Discount, Asher-Topilsky spent six years at larger rival Hapoalim in various management positions.

Discount’s Tel Aviv-listed shares were 3 percent lower in morning trade.

Barclays analyst Tavy Rosner said the resignation was not surprising since bank salaries are now capped at 2.5 million shekels ($692,425) under a 2016 law.

He said Asher-Topilsky had been instrumental in lowering Discount’s cost-income ratio to 66.2% by the second quarter of 2019 from 87% in 2014, while raising its return on equity to 9.3% from 4.2%.

“This success is attributable to a large part to Ms. Topilsky’s focus on ruthless execution, including successfully negotiating headcount decrease with the trade unions,” Rosner said, citing a 20 percent drop in headcount since 2014.

$1 = 3.6105 shekels Reporting by Steven Scheer and Ari Rabinovitch; editing by Jason Neely

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