Ribbon-cutting ceremony at new headquarters marks
15 years since Group was founded and began its international expansion
Opening of UniCredit's new flagship branch in Milan
confirms the Group is wired to the future
UniCredit celebrated its 15th anniversary as it inaugurated the new UniCredit Tower complex this afternoon in a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, UniCredit Chairman Giuseppe Vita and UniCredit CEO Federico Ghizzoni.
The new UniCredit head office, located on Piazza Gae Aulenti in Milan's Porta Nuova neighborhood, symbolizes the Group's past and future as a sustainable and efficient contributor to the communities it serves.
Although UniCredit is a relatively young entity, it has deep roots in the past. One of its components was the very first Italian bank to have been organized as a joint-stock company -- Banca di Genova; other component banks include such venerable institutions as Rolo Banca, established 541 years ago, and Germany's Bayerische Hypotheken-und Wechsel-Bank, which was founded 179 years ago and went on to become part of the HVB Group.
In 1999, the foundations were first laid for the geographic growth and business diversification that made UniCredit the remarkable financial group it is today in Italy and across Europe. In that year, the Cassa di Risparmio di Trento e Rovereto and the Cassa di Risparmio di Trieste joined UniCredito Italiano, and the consolidation of the Group's core local banks was completed. That year also marked the beginning of the UniCredit Group's expansion beyond the borders of Italy, when it acquired a majority shareholding in Bank Pekao, one of the largest banks in Poland.
"The solidity resulting from the Group's deep-seated roots is a strong point, allowing UniCredit to look to the future with confidence. It can be certain of being in a position to contribute -- to the best of its ability -- to the development of the communities where it is active," said Chairman Giuseppe Vita.
"In these last 15 years, UniCredit has grown and diversified, which has resulted in its becoming a leading bank in Europe, where it currently serves more than 20 million families and 3.5 million companies through more than 9,000 branches," said CEO Federico Ghizzoni.
Since 1999, UniCredit has experienced substantial growth, with revenues more than tripling and net equity increasing eight times over. In 2011, the bank was listed by regulators as a systemically important financial institution, evidence of its role in the global economy.
The recently completed tower in Milan became UniCredit's headquarters on September 30, 2013. Some 4,000 UniCredit staff work in the complex, which was designed by Argentine-American architect César Pelli and includes the tallest building in Italy.
The tower was named one of the ten most beautiful new skyscrapers in the world in 2012 by Emporis, a German real estate data company that ranks skyscrapers for both their aesthetic components and functional design.
As a new headquarters, it offers a significant gain in efficiency for UniCredit's operations, generating nearly €25 million in annual savings by reducing from 26 to five the number of office buildings occupied by the bank in Milan and decreasing the bank's total occupied space in the city by over 55,000 square meters. The innovative configuration of the building's work spaces and the introduction of new ways for colleagues to interact in the headquarters is expected to generate further increases in staff productivity and performance.
The UniCredit Tower reflects the Group's sustainability policies, achieving more than a 40 percent reduction in CO2 emissions with its design. The complex was awarded a LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for its 22.5 percent energy savings, 37.3 percent reduction in the use of drinking water, 100 percent recycling of rain water, 93 percent recycling of waste from the building site, 20.5 percent of recycled material used in construction, and 41 percent of locally sourced building materials.
The Tuesday ribbon-cutting ceremony at the tower coincided with the official opening of UniCredit's new flagship branch office in Piazza Gae Aulenti. UniCredit has expanded its commitments to efficiency and innovation, and the service model developed for the Milan flagship branch represents an ambitious investment in the Group's retail network. Designed to improve customer relationships, the branch takes full advantage of a range of technological advances. It is expected that the template for the flagship will be extended to approximately 1,000 branches over the next three years.
The celebrations on Tuesday for the 15th anniversary and the inauguration of the new headquarter concluded with a "Music Streets" concert in the piazza, organized by UniCredit in cooperation with the Filarmonica della Scala and presented by the well-known Italian DJ, Linus. Five street musicians who were selected through social networking websites and five members of the Filarmonica orchestra shared the stage, performing works by Vivaldi, Mozart, Satie and Rachmaninoff.
The year 2014 marks several additional important anniversaries for members of the UniCredit European network, including the 100th anniversary of Croatia's Zagrebačka banka, the 50th anniversary of Bulgaria's UniCredit Bulbank and the 25th anniversary of UniCredit Bank Russia.
Milan, February 11, 2014