Santander appoints Grisi as new CEO to supervise development, digital push By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A person walks previous a Santander financial institution department in Guernica, Spain, April 26, 2022. REUTERS/Vincent West

By Jesús Aguado

MADRID (Reuters) -Spain’s Santander (BME:) named Hector Grisi as its new chief govt officer to supervise the financial institution’s digital transformation and development technique by the worldwide financial uncertainty that’s rattling the entire business.

Former funding banker Grisi, 55, who helped make the financial institution’s U.S. enterprise its most worthwhile final yr, will take the helm from January 1 subsequent yr, the financial institution stated on Friday, changing Jose Antonio Alvarez who has been within the position since 2015. His appointment follows a failed try greater than three years in the past to nominate Italian banker Andrea Orcel as CEO.

Santander’s diversification, particularly in Latin America, has helped the financial institution to deal with robust circumstances for lenders in Europe because the monetary disaster, the place it has been slicing prices to deal with ultra-low rates of interest.

Although its most important market Brazil is slowing down, effectivity measures applied in Europe, coupled with ongoing rate of interest hikes in Britain and Poland, have boosted first quarter earnings.

However extra aggressive and sooner rates of interest hikes than anticipated, each within the euro zone and in the US, to fight excessive inflation, are taking a toll on its shares.

For the reason that ECB opened the best way to extra pronounced charge hikes on June 9, shares in Santander have fallen greater than 9%. They had been up 2% at 1010 GMT on Friday.

“Given the interior profile of the appointment, and no adjustments within the chairman’s Government position, any materials shift in strategic phrases seems unlikely and therefore influence in share value phrases must be restricted,” UBS stated in a word.


Government Chairman Ana Botin has stated the lender would search for development alternatives in Mexico such because the potential acquisition of Citigroup (NYSE:)’s retail operation in Mexico.

Botin stated in an announcement that Grisi’s “monitor report as CEO of Santander Mexico and head of North America speaks for itself and illustrates why we imagine he’s the fitting particular person to steer the financial institution within the subsequent section of our transformation and development.”

A senior govt at Santander additionally famous Grisi had expertise of navigating tough financial circumstances so his appointment was well timed.

Spanish funding agency Alantra stated the brand new CEO can be properly positioned to take care of the strategic challenges of the group, reminiscent of doubtlessly “funding the deal (in Mexico) internally with out a rights concern.”

Alantra added that he would additionally must ship on the strategic wager within the US market, the place Santander is trying to combine and discover synergies throughout a number of companies, reminiscent of retail, shopper, funding banking and wealth administration.

Grisi’s appointment comes after Santander withdrew a proposal to make Orcel CEO, marking a uncommon, sudden U-turn on such a high-level appointment and leading to a bitter authorized battle.

When the search resumed, the financial institution take a look at each exterior and inner candidates.

“We did not discover anyone outdoors the financial institution that we thought might carry the identical stage of abilities and functionality as he’ll carry to us,” one other senior govt stated.

Grisi, whose skilled profession spans over 35 years, was educated in Mexico and Canada.

Earlier than becoming a member of Santander as CEO in Mexico in 2015, he spent 18 years at Credit score Suisse, the place he held a spread of senior positions.


Grisi may also take the helm following the financial institution’s current operational construction adjustments in February to speed up its digital transformation as lenders attempt to fend off competitors from new internet-based entrants.

The financial institution stated then that new tech items, PagoNxt and Digital Shopper Financial institution, can be supervised by Botin, whereas Santander’s areas, nations and international companies would report back to the CEO.

Grisi will report solely to the financial institution’s board following current adjustments within the financial institution’s company governance construction.

Nevertheless, Chairman Ana Botin will maintain her govt position.

At many Spanish lenders, the chairman holds govt powers and is in command of technique whereas the CEO handles day-to-day enterprise.

Supervisors of euro space banks favour a division of roles between the chairman and the CEO.

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