Pedestrians walk past the BES (Espirito Santo Bank) headquarters
Lisbon - AFP
The management team leading Portugal's Novo Banco, created last month by a government bailout of stricken lender Banco Espirito Santo, on Saturday announced it plans to resign.
The president, vice-president and financial director, who took the helm of BES in mid-July, announced their intention to give up their roles in Novo Banco while "leaving time for a smooth transition to be prepared".
The team, let by prominent economist Vitor Bento, took over the leadership of BES when the bank was in the firing line due to allegations of accounting fraud in its parent companies.
On August 3, a few days after BES reported a record loss of 3.57 billion euros ($4.6 billion), Lisbon stepped in to quell rising panic in the financial markets and fears it could hurt Portugal's economy.
The plan involved splitting the lender into two banks: Novo Banco will take the capital injection and all of the bank's viable assets, while the so-called "bad bank" BES will house all of its toxic debts.
Novo Banco's management said Saturday they had decided to leave because "circumstances have changed", rebuffing media reports they had come into conflict with the authorities.
"We have helped to stabilize the bank" and "the process for a quick sale of the bank was launched", they said. "It is time to pass the baton."
Both Lisbon and the Portuguese banks that contributed to the 4.9 billion euro rescue have pressed for the bank to swiftly be sold on the market to help taxpayers already hit hard by austerity.