Four women in leadership testimonials

Our People

UniCredit's commitment to ensuring a fair and positive work environment is evidenced by our strong focus upon diversity and inclusion.

Since the subscription to the UK Women in Finance Charter (2018), our female representation in senior leadership has grown to 27% in 2021, exceeding our 2022 commitment of 20%. The bank's commitments are supported by concrete Group-wide initiatives which continue to undergo rigorous monitoring.

In 2021, UniCredit launched a new series named Women in Leadership. The series highlights the roles, expertise, and commitments of some of its female executives operating in the countries and areas of the business in which the bank operates.

1. Monika Rast - Head of Multinational Corporates and Deputy Head of Corporates, UniCredit Bank AG

We can't be yesterday's expert in tomorrow's world.

As a woman in an executive role what advice would you give women working in the financial sector?
It's been quite a journey for women around the world to try to achieve gender equality. This applies not only to the financial industry but to all economic sectors and, I believe, that the fight for equality will continue to be an ongoing journey for many years ahead. I would also advise women working in the financial sector to be courageous, determined, open and last, but not least, hard working. Furthermore, strong women who have made their way up the career ladder shouldn't hesitate or hide their ability when it comes to stepping-up and actively pursuing a higher position.

What are your expectations for the future?
In a nutshell, I expect change and disruption to continue. As a very adaptive species, we need to anticipate these developments and adjust to the best of our capabilities. Those of us who can manage this well are likely to succeed beyond our highest expectations. Additionally, the strong advances of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) considerations will undoubtedly influence markets going forward as companies strive to combine positive sustainability with financial impact. Regulatory developments in this direction are already at hand and will likely to continue to exert an ever-greater influence on our daily lives - not only in the workspace.

2. Teodora Petkova - Head of Eastern Europe

According to Google, empathy is the skill of the future.

As a woman in an executive role what advice would you give women working in the financial sector?
It is very important to encourage women to work in the financial sector, including in leadership roles. One thing I can say for sure is that women who want to make career are in the right place because I strongly believe in our Group's diversity & inclusion approach and initiatives. As Picasso says, "Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." In this respect, my advice to women is to keep working with inspiration and heart. We do face the challenges but, in the meantime, we should turn them into starting points that motivate us to improve ourselves and our talents. I believe that women in an executive role should lead their teams with empathy and, at the same time, make timely and firm decisions.

What are your key take-aways from the pandemic? Which initiatives are you most proud of?
2020 was a year in which I took an accelerated course in management and humanity. All my take-aways are related to how important achieving balance is. We need to aim to find the balance between the company's short-term problems and its longterm strategy while keeping the foundations of the company unchanged, and we need to find the balance between the need to make quick decisions and the need to make the right decisions. I also want to share how proud I am of the team at UniCredit Bulbank and congratulate my colleagues on all that we achieved during a challenging year. In 2020, payments for utilities through online banking increased by 50%. Since the beginning of 2019, our mobile banking clients have grown by over 65%. This trend will certainly continue as we all become more tech savvy.

3. Luisella Altare - Head of Region North East, UniCredit Italy

Starting over is a chance to face the future with an open mind.

As a woman in a leadership role in Italy, what advice would you give to women working in the financial sector?
Never feel inadequate. Work on enriching your skills and cultivating the courage to pursue your goals with tenacity. My job as a Manager is to encourage female colleagues to take on their professional challenges with confidence and to accompany and support them on their journey.

What are your expectations for the future?
We need great flexibility. We should treasure the positives of this period that has greatly changed our habits and confronted us with so many weaknesses, often in a system that we have had to question. We learned the value of caring, collaborative working, and the need for more inclusive communication. I believe that people who can anticipate change, be flexible, know how to question themselves, even rethink their professional development plan will have great opportunities with the highest expectations.

4. Laurence Fraissinet-Dubois - Country Manager France and Branch Manager UniCredit Paris

There are a lot of opportunities and women should not be shy to grab them.

As a woman in an executive role, what advice would you give women working in the financial sector? In Paris there is a high level of diversity within the bank, how did you manage to achieve such a great result and what are the actions that you are implementing to maintain this high level of diversity in the future?
Women should be confident that they can succeed in every sector and financial services is no exception! There are also a series of impressive role models: could you ever have imagined that the Head of ECB and EU Commission would both be women and, at the same time, there being several powerful women as heads of state? But diversity is not just about women, it is also about bringing together different nationalities or profiles to break stereotypes and foster collaborative thinking. At UniCredit Paris we have been very open to diversity since our inception and are often regarded as an exemplar of the Group, specifically due to the development opportunities we offer to talented people at all levels.

What is your outlook for this year?
As remote working became the norm, companies had to quickly adjust to digital channels whilst revisiting their existing strategies. In this context, the banking sector played an important role in supporting both economies and the private sector; depending on the industry, M&A activity has restarted whilst asset rotation in portfolios is also accelerating thanks to increased liquidity in the market. We expect to return to pre- Covid growth trends in 2022, with a boost to longer-term investments helped by European and national funds in the areas of energy transition, infrastructure, and education.