Fabrizio Viola, chief executive of Italy’s troubled bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena, has agreed to step down, the bank said in a statement.

The statement from Italy’s third largest bank said Mr Viola had “expressed his availability to work with the chairman to find an agreement to terminate his contract,” reports Milan correspondent Rachel Sanderson.

The Board of Directors has initiated the CEO succession process with the aim to identify the new CEO in short term, the bank said.

Mr Viola has been under pressure to leave ahead of Monte Paschim’s new industrial plan which is due to be published on September 26 or 27. The bank is due to unveil the structure of a deal to raise E5bn in new capital and dispose of about E30bn in non performing loans.

Senior bankers involved in the deal said a change at the head of the bank, which has twice come out the worst loser in European stress tests in 2014 and 2016 was necessary in order to go to the market to ask for new capital.

Corrado Passera, former CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo, is among those suggested as a replacement for Mr Viola.

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