Old faces, new roles

BankUnitedThe financial crisis appears to be creating some jobs for at least one group of people – former banking executives.

As private equity firms turn their attention to banks, they are seeking out retired chiefs and other senior executives with banking experience to lead their investments and run the banks they buy. 

Besides their operational experience, these executives bring to the table a crucial quality that can sometimes make or break a group’s bid to take over a bank – street cred with U.S. banking regulators.

Credible management for the banks they oversee is one of the key concerns of regulators, who worry about the health of the industry and separation of banking and commerce. It becomes all the more crucial in the case of private equity groups that don’t already own banks and so have no recent track record for regulators to rely on.

John Kanas, a veteran of the banking industry and former head of North Fork Bank, made such a comeback with a successful bid for Florida’s BankUnited.

Deals du Jour

Opel remains the biggest story of the day. Marathon talks to shield it from a looming bankruptcy ended with no results, a deal is now expected by Friday. In another bankruptcy-related story, Nortel Networks is looking for a buyer for its majority stake in a South Korean joint venture with LG Electronics. For today’s top headlines on deals, click here.

This is what we found of interest in the newspapers:

* Fortress Investment Group, a listed private equity and hedge fund company, is nearing an agreement to inject $800 million in fresh capital into First Southern, a Florida bank, with other investors, the Financial Times said.

* Eircom Holdings has started detailed discussions with three potential bidders to sell its 57 percent stake in Eircom, the former Irish state-owned telecoms company, the Financial Times said.