UniCredit chairman Fabrizio Saccomanni died suddenly on Thursday at the age of 76.

Mr Saccomanni became the top director of Italy’s largest bank in April last year and earlier this week attended the lender’s second-quarter results presentation in Milan, just a day before his death.

“On behalf of the whole of UniCredit I want to express the immense shock, sorrow and sadness at the sudden passing of Fabrizio,” chief executive Jean Pierre Mustier said. “He was a good chairman and sparring partner, a great statesman — his passing is a loss for his family, bank and country.”

Mr Saccomanni, a former deputy governor of the Bank of Italy and the country’s economy and finance minister, was brought in to improve governance at UniCredit as part of an overhaul led by Mr Mustier.

He will be replaced by 74-year-old deputy chairman Cesare Bisoni as per the bank’s corporate governance rules.

Mr Saccomanni was born in Rome in 1942 and studied economics at Bocconi University in Milan, before moving on to a postgraduate course at Princeton in the US.

He held a variety of senior positions representing Italy at the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Union.

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