Alfa-Bank, Russia’s largest private lender by assets, has hired Vladimir Verkhoshinsky from state bank VTB to be its chief executive, the bank said on Tuesday.

Mr Verkhoshinsky, who previously ran VTB’s retail business, said he intended to double Alfa’s market share in an unspecified timeframe and “become an undisputed technological leader once again,” the bank said.

His predecessor, Alexei Marei, left last year and moved to London after criticism that the bank had been eclipsed by tech-focused retail rivals like Sberbank, the largest state bank, and online-only bank Tinkoff.

Alfa-Bank’s announcement included a message from Mr Verkhoshinksy’s former boss, VTB chief executive Andrei Kostin, who said:

“Vladimir Verkhoshinksy is a top professional and a talented manager. It’s a shame he’s leaving VTB Group. But the offer he got to run Alfa-Bank is a big opportunity for his further professional and career growth. I think he made the right decision and sincerely wish him success in his new position.”

Alfa-Bank, owned by a group of first-generation oligarchs led by Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven, is Russia’s fifth-largest bank behind the top three state lenders and Otkritie, a privately held bank that was nationalised last year to save it from collapse.

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