Yossi Bachar, a former director-general of the Finance Ministry, has been appointed chairman of Israel Discount Bank, effective January 1, the country's third-largest bank announced Sunday. He replaces Shlomo Zohar. "I am confident that, in cooperation with the workers and management, we will be able to cope with the challenges ahead of us and offer a good and preferred alternative to the two large banks [Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi]," Bachar said in a statement released by the bank. In November, Zohar reached a compromise agreement with the Bronfman-Schron Group, the bank's controlling shareholder, under which he agreed to step down before his contract ends in February 2011. The Bronfman-Schron Group attributed the decision to replace Zohar to what it called internal organizational changes. As part of the agreement, Zohar will be employed as a financial adviser in Israel to Bronfman-Schron Group companies for another two years. The Bronfman-Schron Group acquired a controlling stake in Discount Bank (26 percent) from the government in 2006 and appointed Zohar chairman. The government plans to sell its 25% stake in Israel Discount Bank this year as it privatizes state-controlled companies. The state also owns an 11% stake in Bank Leumi. Bachar, 54, a certified public accountant, served as Finance Ministry director-general from 2003 to 2007. During his tenure, he played a leading role in implementation of capital-market reform, the so-called Bachar Reform. The committee he headed required the country's banks to sell their asset-management businesses, with the aim of bringing new players into the market and reducing conflicts of interest.