Adnan Bali, CEO of Turkey’s İşbank, will step down in March

Adnan Bali, the chief executive officer of İşbank, one of Turkey’s biggest banks, will step down.

Bali, who has served as CEO for 10 years, will leave his position in March, the bank said in a statement to the Istanbul Stock Exchange on Wednesday. He plans to continue working on the company's board and recommended that deputy CEO Hakan Aran take over leadership, it said.

İşbank, based in Istanbul, and Bali have come under political pressure from the government after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan repeatedly called for shares in the company controlled by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to be transferred to the Treasury.

Bali has defended İşbank’s share structure, saying the CHP holds no sway over executive decision-making. Erdoğan also had a rocky relationship with former chairman Ersin Özince, who stepped down in March 2019 after eight years in the position.

In November, the CHP accused the government of seizing dividends in İşbank worth 3.7 billion liras ($505 million). The government denied the charges.

The CHP holds a 28 percent stake in İşbank, bequeathed by Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who established the party and became its first leader. Dividends from the shares have been paid to the Ankara-based Turkish Language Association and the Turkish History Association, also formed by Atatürk.

Aran has served as deputy CEO of the bank since 2008.