He clashed with the bank's board over strategy. Now Italy's UniCredit says Chief Executive Jean Pierre Mustier will step down in April next year. The French former investment banker has steered UniCredit through a painful restructuring over the past four years. He's bolstered its balance sheet and cut exposure to debt-laden Italy. But after fruitless attempts at a cross-border deal, Mustier, had ruled out mergers and acquisitions. His view was increasingly at odds with the consolidation fever sweeping Italy's fragmented banking sector. In a statement late on Monday (Nov 30) Mustier said his business plan and "its core pillars no longer correspond to the board's current thinking". Shares in UniCredit were trading down around 5% in Tuesday morning trade. By contrast, shares in state-owned Monte dei Paschi surged around 4%. The Italian government is looking for a buyer for the Tuscan bank it rescued in 2017. Sources have said it had identified UniCredit as the ideal partner due to its robust balance sheet. UniCredit is the latest major European bank to announce a CEO departure this year. Credit Suisse, UBS, ING, Commerzbank and Lloyds have all made leadership changes. The pandemic has compounded the challenges faced by European banks due to negative interest rates that make lending unprofitable.