Letter from the Chairman

Andrea Orcel

A Better Future

It is with great pride that I write to you as the new Chairman of the UniCredit Foundation.

The last 12 months will be remembered as a time of transformation for UniCredit, and for the Foundation, it was no different.

The reason I’ve taken on the role of Chair is to reconnect the Foundation with our single purpose at UniCredit to empower communities to progress. Driving this is my belief that banks have a social responsibility that goes far beyond lending and financial services.

The first banks were stewards of the economy, the bedrock of society, and central to enabling communities to grow and prosper. It is my ambition through the foundation to return to this fundamental blueprint for banking.

Last year was difficult for individuals, families, and businesses worldwide. The aftershocks of the Covid-19 pandemic, volatile economic conditions, and the intensifying impact of climate change, required us to put the ‘Social’ of ESG, at the forefront of all our work.

It has also been one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine upended our sense of security and stability in Europe. As war broke, the Foundation rose to this humanitarian challenge by promoting a fundraising that involved all employees of the Group to help the Ukrainian population directly on the ground.

When people are hit the hardest, it is our responsibility as a Foundation and a bank to have a positive impact in the communities we serve and help people to emerge stronger. Over the past year, I believe we’ve done this and I am proud of the initiatives we have championed. I’m also proud of the people of UniCredit who over the past year have risen to this challenge en masse. Their enthusiasm, support and participation in the Foundation’s work has been at the heart of its success.

However, as a foundation, I know we can do even more to empower communities in Europe to progress. 2022 was a new and exciting chapter for this Foundation as we proudly relaunched the Foundation with a renewed focus on youth and education. This is with the aim of helping young people in Europe to unlock their fullest potential by providing equal education opportunities and the right tools for a brighter and better future.

We made this change for many reasons. With the continued economic strain on countries in Europe, more than one in five young students still leave school without basic reading, writing, and math skills. Education is an essential driver of a better, more sustainable future for Europe, and we cannot stand by as the next generation falls short of its huge potential.

It is our responsibility as an institution to identify, support and empower our youth. They are our future leaders who will lay the Foundation for future success and the Europe of tomorrow. This speaks to our purpose at UniCredit to empower communities to progress and our ambition to be the bank for Europe’s future.

To pursue this new journey, we have made important changes to our board. For the next three years, I will take on the role of Chair from President Maurizio Beretta. Maurizio has been fundamental to the success of the Foundation since it was created four years ago, and I’m grateful for his work to steer us to this place. We have also strengthened our team through the appointment of Giorgio Barba Navaretti as Vice-Chairman, and Silvia Cappellini as the new General Manager. I’m confident that with their expertise and leadership skills we can do more for Europe and its people.

As a result of the transformative action we have taken, UniCredit has evolved into a better bank and the Foundation is an important part of this evolution. In this new step for the Foundation, it is our ambition to build our footprint beyond Italy, while still supporting the country we call home. This has already begun through a flagship initiative to support educational projects in countries such as Bulgaria and Romania.

We have unlocked our internal value as a bank through the UniCredit Unlocked Plan and now it is about helping to unlock the potential of Europe’s next generation through this Foundation’s work.

When Europe thrives, we thrive, and with this new mission guiding us, I am excited to work with communities across the continent to shape the next generation of leaders. This is a new era for our Foundation, but a return to what I believe is the blueprint for banking.

Andrea Orcel