[MADRID] The euro zone's biggest bank Santander announced a new chief executive and a major management shake-up on Tuesday - chairwoman Ana Botin's much-anticipated first move towards giving the bank a younger and more international profile.
Current CEO Javier Marin will leave the bank and be replaced by Chief Financial Officer Jose Antonio Alvarez. Two long-standing independent directors are also set to resign and Botin has also created a new post of lead independent director for Bruce Carnegie-Brown, a former non-executive member of the bank's board in Britain.
Botin, who ran the UK division of Santander before taking over from her late father Emilio Botin in September, needs to reassure investors that the bank's management has the energy and drive to maintain its industry-leading position, expand in new markets like the United States and Eastern Europe, and recover in its home market after the worst economic downturn in decades.
Investors responded positively, sending shares in Santander up 1.7 per cent at 7.21 euros by 1025 GMT. "This is a sign of Ana Botin putting her stamp on the business and showing what she wants to do," said one Madrid-based analyst who declined to be named, adding the move was positive.
Santander said the changes would be effective from Jan 1.
Jose Garcia Cantera will replace Jose Antonio Alvarez as CFO, while the bank also appointed a new head of global banking and markets, Jacques Ripoll, who formerly occupied that role in the UK division.
As well as Carnegie-Brown the bank named two other new independent directors, Sol Daurella and Carlos Fernandez, to replace Fernando de Asua and Abel Matutes who had been serving on the board for more than a decade.